Dairy Runway Program

Supporting early-stage dairy entrepreneurs using New York-produced cow milk

Based on the National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps model, the Dairy Runway program addresses the biggest reason for new product failure: lack of product fit with market demand. Through Dairy Runway, food entrepreneurs and dairy innovators with early-stage ideas for value-added dairy products using New York State cow milk participate in a FREE, virtual Cornell-hosted entrepreneurship course that introduces them to the business model canvas and customer discovery process. Program participants are led through a process to determine if their product ideas are desirable, viable, and feasible. Graduates are equipped with the skills needed to develop a workable business plan for a scalable product and are positioned to apply to various incubator and accelerator programs.

The Program

Up to 10 teams will be selected into each Dairy Runway cohort to participate in a free, virtual course that combines self-directed online learning activities with Zoom-based class meetings and one-on-one instructor check-ins. Throughout the course, industry experts and food entrepreneurs join virtual sessions to discuss product branding, consumer trends, and the challenges of bringing novel products to market.

Teams that attend and participate fully in every virtual course session will be offered fully-funded access to Cornell’s Food Processing and Development Laboratory to work, support from Cornell’s Food Science technical experts, and business coaching from a select group of Cornell Entrepreneurs in Residence, in order to bring their innovative ideas to the prototype stage and further develop their business model canvas after coursework concludes.

Participants who advance to the Kitchen Incubator must meet Cornell’s insurance requirements for the University’s shared-use facilities.

Applications for the winter cohort are now open. Apply now.

Attend a virtual information session to learn more about the program.


Ken Rother
Heather Sandford

Program Timeline

November 14, 2023

Applications Open

January 8, 2024

Applications Close (5 p.m. ET)

Third week of January

Participants Selected

January 31 – February 26, 2024

Virtual Course

April – June 2024

Kitchen Incubator


The program is open to any dairy entrepreneur or food innovator located in New York and the New England states with an idea for a new, value-added, cow milk-based dairy product. To be eligible, participants must agree to source cow milk produced in the state of New York in their proposed dairy product.

This program is made possible through a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Dairy Promotion Order.

This program is made possible through a grant from Empire State Development and funded through the New York State Agriculture and Markets, Dairy Promotion Order