By Andy Young

Lion is looking to partner with food and beverage startups and entrepreneurs in Australia, New Zealand and beyond, after launching its Lion Unleashed initiative.

The 12 week accelerator program has been designed in partnership with Australia’s foremost corporate accelerator specialist, Slingshot, and aims to connect Lion’s market-leading brands such as XXXX, Hahn SuperDry and Steinlager, with world-class entrepreneurs to accelerate Lion’s innovation agenda.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “Lion Unleashed is an opportunity for startups and scaleups to work with Lion to unlock even more value at every stage of the value chain and bring new ideas in the food and beverage sector to life.

“Innovation has been at the heart of Lion’s 177 year success and is critical for our long term, sustainable growth.  Together with the R&D expertise of our parent company Kirin, we have a strong track record of evolving both our alcohol and dairy portfolios to meet the changing needs and tastes of consumers.  

“But no one has a monopoly on great, disruptive ideas that can really challenge and grow our people and our business. Unleashed is an opportunity for us to collaborate with the best and brightest startups, who at the same time can benefit from Lion’s unique understanding of consumers across alcohol, dairy and juice, our deep manufacturing experience and potential partnership opportunities with our leading brands, including XXXX, Steinlager, Little Creatures, Dairy Farmers and Pura.”

Startups accepted into Lion Unleashed will exchange equity for up to $50,000 from the Slingshot Investment Fund. In addition, Slingshot network partners can access technology, software, hosting, office space and catering benefits valued at over $500,000, along with mentoring advice from the likes of Kate Parker, CEO of Your Tea, Alistair Venn, Managing Director of Menulog and Mark Moran, Head of Global Partnerships at LaFourchette (A Trip Advisor Company).

Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot said: “The F&B industry is not only critical to the economy but also a meaningful part of our daily lives. We see a massive opportunity for disruption and exciting innovation in this space and are thrilled to partner with Lion to drive collaboration between two powerful forces – a leading global business and the startup communities in Australia, New Zealand and the broader APAC region.”

“Lion Unleashed represents the first Slingshot accelerator program actively recruiting across New Zealand, which will ensure we attract the best and brightest in F&B and deliver tangible business outcomes both for Lion and the startups,” added Lawson.

Lion Unleashed has set five key themes for the innovators it is looking to partner with, which are:

  • Enhanced Connections – engaging consumers through technology
  • Living Well – better ingredients, better for you products, better choices
  • Limitless Experiences – pioneering real-world tech solutions and real-time experiences
  • Transform Tomorrow – value chain innovation and data analytics
  • Unleashed – to develop inspiring solutions related to all facets of the production, distribution and consumption of food and drink.

Potential applicants can learn more about the initiative at one of four roadshows taking place in Australia and New Zealand over the coming weeks. Those roadshows are:

  • Brisbane– 26 June at The Precinct, Fortitude Valley
  • Sydney – 27 June at WeWork Pyrmont
  • Melbourne – 28 June at Inspire9, Richmond
  • Auckland – 3 July at The Icehouse

Those interested can also find out more and apply at the Lion Unleashed website

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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