Archer Daniels Midland Company and National Foodworks Services have announced the official launch of the first annual Food Innovation Challenge.

The Food Innovation Challenge is a contest designed to provide new food entrepreneurs with access to resources and industry mentors to evaluate their product ideas, and ultimately the opportunity to win $50,000 in seed funding and $50,000 of in-kind services to bring their product to market.

Sponsored by ADM and NFS, the Food Innovation Challenge is open this year to entrepreneurs aspiring to sell their new baked goods, snack-type bars or condiments (hot filled jam, dressing, sauce, marinade) in retail food channels. Applicants must be 18 years of age and a legal resident of Illinois or one of the surrounding states (Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, or Wisconsin). First and second round finalists will have the opportunity to work with mentors in the areas of production, accounting, marketing, and more to help develop a business model. Food research and product development experts will also help contestants finalize a scalable food product.

“This challenge allows us to foster growth in new industry talent and build relationships with future food innovators,” said Mark Matlock, ADM senior vice president of research. “Our commitment to the food industry has never been stronger, and we look forward to putting our food research and ingredient expertise to work in assisting food entrepreneurs in creating new and exciting food innovations.”

“National Foodworks Services prides itself on assisting new food entrepreneurs in bringing their food business to a larger scale,” said Tony Caccomo, managing partner, NFS. “When ADM approached us about participating in this opportunity, it fit perfectly with our desire to bring food innovation to the American consumer. The Food Innovation Challenge is located in the heart of Illinois’ Billion Dollar Gateway, surrounded by food manufacturing companies ready to support new food ideas.”

Applications will be accepted at until May 16, 2016.