March 10, 2015
New York - JetBlue Airways today announced the launch of its first business mentoring program -- BlueBud (buddies + budding new companies). JetBlue, known for its distinct and responsible onboard food options, is offering small and start-up food companies a unique opportunity to learn what it takes to get their businesses off the ground and products onboard commercial aircraft.
BlueBud offers mentorship to small food companies that are creating unique and novel concepts, connect with a diverse group of customers and maintain responsible practices. Participants will get special access to JetBlue's business leaders, who will offer participants access to the airline's unique product development culture, as well as valuable industry insights.
The first BlueBud is focused on food companies from New York State. Applications are currently being accepted until April 6, 2015.
"We haven't forgotten what it's like to start as a small company that wants to make a difference," said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue's head of sustainability. "This program gives us an opportunity to support small food companies with compelling ideas that align with our belief that just because you're traveling, your health and conscience don't have to suffer. We're proud of the products and foods produced in in New York State that also consider environmental impact and these are our first choices to serve onboard and in our airports."
What Does BlueBud Include?
Companies selected for the inaugural BlueBud mentoring program will participate in a week-long mentorship initiative that includes:
- A tour of JetBlue Airways Long Island City Support Center (what other companies would call Headquarters), JFK's Terminal 5 and an airline catering station, all designed to help participants understand how food (literally) gets onboard JetBlue.
- A trip to JetBlue University in Orlando and participation in the airline's crewmember orientation to understand JetBlue business development and community building. Participant will get a feel for JetBlue's values and what the company looks for in partners.
- A speaker and taste-testing event opportunity for JetBlue's Crewmembers at Long Island City Support Center.
- Intimate access to JetBlue teams including Strategic Sourcing, Purchasing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Communications, Marketing, Brand and Onboard Product. Participants will get a better understanding of how a once small company feels about getting big.
- Work space and access to conference rooms.
- Travel certificates to and from New York for relevant company members to join in specific meetings approved by JetBlue and the partner company.
"Getting onboard an aircraft as a food partner is not an easy task, so what better learning experience is there than getting first-hand knowledge directly from those that pick new menu selections," said Jamie Perry, JetBlue's vice president, brand and product development. "JetBlue has already helped put several small food brands on the map. We look forward to cultivating relationships with other burgeoning food brands that are also conscious of their impact."
While airlines haven't historically been associated with fresh and responsible foods, JetBlue's product development and sustainability teams work to ensure there are nutritious options available on all onboard food and beverage menus.
Applications are now being accepted from companies with focuses in the following categories:
- Responsible foods: foods focusing on positive environment and social impact
- Tasty foods: foods that are nutritious and conscious of targeted needs
- Informed foods: foods that are innovative, diverse, and part of a curated JetBlue experience
- Homegrown foods: companies with a connection to our New York hometown