In an effort to jumpstart growth in new product development, ingredients giant DSM is hosting its inaugural Innovation Partnering Conference at its Parsippany, NJ, headquarters in June.
“Innovation is important in meeting one of our key objectives of having innovative products and applications accounting for 20% of total DSM sales by 2015,” Will Black, DSM’s vice president of marketing, told NutraIngredients-USA. “However, we recognize that there are number of great ideas that exist outside of us and we need to find and collaborate with the right partners if we are to succeed as a company.”
DSM is seeking entries (due May 9) in nine categories:
- memory-enhancing ingredients,
- cognition-enhancing ingredients for children,
- ingredients providing sustained energy benefits,
- blood glucose- lowering ingredients,
- new fibers with digestive health benefits,
- natural colorants and natural antioxidants,
- dietary solutions for food intolerances (e.g., for fructose, salicylates, etc.) and allergies,
- disruptive formulation technologies for micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, PUFA’s, phytonutrients, and dietary enzymes), and
- non-invasive diagnostics to assess levels of micronutrients in the human body.
“Although it would be nice, DSM does not anticipate that each of these categories will generate a finalist, but from these categories we will identify finalist companies that we will invite to the Innovation Partnering Conference,” Black said, noting that finalist companies will be separated into two categories: early stage (one to three years to commercialization) and seed stage (three-plus years to commercialization).
Finalist companies will be announced by May 14; then each will be assigned mentors from Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) and DSM to help develop the presentation they will stage during the conference, which takes place June 25-26. Following each 30-minute presentation senior DSM staff will have a discussion with each finalist.
“All finalist companies will be candidates that will be considered for an investment by DSM Venturing or for another type of collaboration with DSM Human Nutrition and Health,” Black added.
In addition to building DSM’s product innovation platform, the conference also includes a half-day of learnings where senior DSM executives from R&D, innovation, sales and marketing, regulatory and venturing will share their expertise and experiences with attendees. The so-called Learning Academy gives startups the chance to connect with DSM executives to explore business collaborations and investment opportunities and learn how DSM collaborates with small businesses at various stages of the supply chain, co-develop products, and invests in entrepreneurial firms.