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Coke Is Luring Experienced Entrepreneurs to Create New Startups In Coca-Cola's new platform for entrepreneurs, Coke brings the money and the cachet, while startups (hopefully) help the soda giant reach new markets down the road.

By Kate Taylor

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Coke wants in on the entrepreneur scene. So, it's created a program designed to help founders build startups from the ground up.

Coca-Cola went public with a new entrepreneurship program on Wednesday, at Fast Company's Innovation By Design conference. Called Coca-Cola Founders, the program allows the company to partner with entrepreneurs and offer them expertise, resources and reach, before the entrepreneurs create a new startup. Coca-Cola is a launch partner from day one, and, once the business model is proven, becomes a minority shareholder in the company.

"Founders are given an unfair advantage through the power of Coca-Cola and the opportunity to do what most can only dream about," reads the program's website. "Coca-Cola gets early access to new, fast-growing markets and solutions to challenges impacting our business."

Related: With Soda Sales Down Anyway, Coke and Pepsi Vow to Promote Healthier Drinks

The global program, which was founded in 2013, already has a number of ideas in development around the world. The network currently includes a Rio de Janeiro-based video ranking website, a San Francisco-based temp job app and a Sydney-based hydration biosensor. Coke says all of the teams in its network first start with a problem in their own neighborhood, then their city, then their country, with the goal being to scale globally with Coke as a customer.

According to the program's website, Coca-Cola finds founders by searching for experienced entrepreneurs in startup communities, then inviting promising pairs to join what it call its Co-Founder Network. Coca-Cola Founders is not an accelerator, as founders don't need a company or even an idea to join, and Coke doesn't dictate a problem to solve or even a time period the program lasts.

Interested? Too bad: the program isn't taking applications. Coca-Cola is looking for experienced entrepreneurs, not first-time founders, with experience in running companies that emphasize low spend and high speed. Coke says many of its current founders entered the program "after a huge failure or significant exit." If you fit the bill, don't bother contacting Coca-Cola Founders – they'll find you.

Related: This Clever Marketing Campaign Reversed Coke's 11-Year Decline in Soda Sales

Kate Taylor

Reporter

Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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