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Mexican diner chain Chipotle to ‘make a better world’ with new accelerator

Chipotle is trying to make a more sustainable world through its new accelerator, which will provide mentoring and business guidance to eight food-related companies using technology to make their agricultural process more environmentally-friendly

Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle has announced a seven-month accelerator programme aimed at helping start-ups sharing its vision of creating a more sustainable world while improving their businesses.

Starting on 12 September, the Chipotle Aluminaries Project will be open to applications from food-orientated companies, providing them with mentoring and coaching from industry leaders, in addition to five-day boot camp.

It is looking for both for-profit and non-profit applicants operating in areas such as alternative farming and growing systems, farming and agriculture technology, food waste and recovery, and plant and alternative products.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said: “Chipotle has been committed to the future of food with integrity since opening our first restaurant 25 years ago.

“Since then, our company and its foundation have changed how customers and the industry think about food, which is part of our mission to cultivate a better world.

“By sponsoring the Chipotle Aluminaries Project, we’re looking to advance the work of the next generation of entrepreneurs who are disrupting the food landscape.

“Are you using technology to make an impact? Are you dreaming up the next sustainable food innovation? If so, we want to support you and help share your story.”

chipotle
Credit: Flickr/Octavio Ruiz Cervera

The Chipotle accelerator: Learning from the best

Non-profit accelerator specialist Uncharted has been selected to host and run the programme, and will review the submissions come September and select eight companies to comprise the first cohort.

These eight businesses will receive guidance from the likes of Richard Blais, a restaurateur, author, television personality and winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, and Kimbal Musk, who sits on the board of Tesla and SpaceX along with his brother, Elon Musk.

The five-day boot camp will take place in Newport Beach, California, and will provide participants with direct coaching on how to plan for scaling their business models.

Chipotle director of sustainability Caitlin Leibert said: “The Chipotle Aluminaries Project is part of a fresh perspective from the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which we founded in 2011 to extend our commitment to creating a more sustainable food future.

“We believe that philanthropy is more than cheque-cutting, and this is the first of many efforts from the Cultivate Foundation of investing in new ways.”

Uncharted has helped social entrepreneurs raise $252m (£196m), benefiting 37 million people across 96 countries.

As of June 30, 2018 Chipotle had more than 70,000 employees and 2,450 restaurants in the USCanada, the United KingdomFrance and Germany, and claims to be the only restaurant of its size to own and operate all of its outlets.