The natural products industry is a burgeoning market forecasted to grow 8.6 percent annually to $226 billion by 2018. Competition is steep and less than two percent of natural products startups succeed past six months because there is no ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial manufacturers in building and growing their business. Balancing the operations, financing rounds, marketing, accounting, broker commissions, cash flow, sales management and shipping can be overwhelming for any entrepreneur.
New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton, has created NEXT Accelerator (www.nextaccelerator.com), an exclusive online community that connects entrepreneurs with the information, expertise, advisors, service providers, partners and education they need to ensure product success. It offers:
- Content and video vignettes provide business-building insights from experts and respected resources. Entrepreneurs can develop critical business capabilities by accessing best in class tools, templates and business intelligence solutions.
- The Service Provider Directory enables entrepreneurs to find highly proven and trusted industry service providers.
- The Community Forum offers year-round mentoring. Entrepreneurs can receive reliable answers to critical business.
- The NEXT Accelerator Entrepreneur Bootcamp fosters valuable education and in-person networking opportunities.
- The NEXT Accelerator Pitch-Slam is a fun, fast-paced event that lets entrepreneurs pitch their natural product idea to a panel of four leading natural products investors and brand builders, and receive immediate feedback and expert suggestions for improving and refining their idea. Three finalists compete for a $25,000 prize.
Carlotta Mast, Senior Director of Content and Insights, New Hope Natural Media and the mastermind of NEXT Accelerator said, “New entrepreneurs need an array of resources to successfully navigate the natural products landscape and stay innovative. NEXT Accelerator is a dynamic community that provides them with the insights, tools, mentorship and access to service providers needed to launch new products and poise their businesses for long-term, sustainable growth.”
Since its launch in September 2013, entrepreneurs throughout the natural food and beverage industry are capitalizing on business opportunities through NEXT Accelerator. Entrepreneurs share how they use NEXT Accelerator:
- Keen One Foods was founded in 2007 to bring healthy and convenient quinoa products to the market. Christopher Algea, CEO of Keen One Foods, uses NEXT Accelerator’s forum to ask industry experts and peers questions and also relies on the industry trends to help him understand the organic and natural products channels and get advice on packaging and marketing. NEXT Accelerator is targeted to the entrepreneur – like Algea - who has a good idea, but needs advanced industry experience and tactical know-how to take his business to the next level.
- Olomomo Nut Company® aspires to bring innovation to the nut industry with delicious and unique premium nuts. Mark Owens, CEO, has been using NEXT Accelerator’s directory of service providers to assist the company as it expands outside of the Rocky Mountain region. Through the Service Provider Directory, Olomomo has been able to partner with a broker for nationwide sales support. In addition, Owens is hooked on the content. He reads the articles and watches the videos to learn tips and tricks from industry influencers.
- Big Mouth Snack sells Snackle Mouth®, a healthy, tasty and simple nut cluster SUPERSNACK that is made from the most simple natural and organic ingredients on the planet. Megan Coppola manages Big Mouth Snack’s Channel Sales & Customer Service and uses NEXT Accelerator’s forum feature to connect with the entrepreneurial community. She asks for expert advice and also provides other entrepreneurs with answers to many of the questions she had when she entered the industry. In addition she finds the videos and content to help improve her sales game and get a clearer focus on all aspects of her job.
Visit NEXTAccelerator.com to register for a free 2-week trial of NEXT Accelerator or join the NEXT Accelerator community.