In this series, New Hope Network covers the ins and outs of accelerators and incubators across the United States that provide mentorship, funds and resources to help grow natural businesses. Here, Heather Terry, partner and chief strategy officer for BeyondBrands, provides insight into the BeyondSKU accelerator program.
What: BeyondSKU, a 12-week accelerator; at program completion, brands may be awarded up to $20,000
When: Late fall through early winter
Notable past alumni: Pilot Kombucha, Mud Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert, True Moringa
When are BeyondSKU accelerator applications open, and when is the application deadline?
Applications are currently open, and they will be accepted through mid-June.
What types of companies does BeyondSKU assist?
This is an accelerator program, so we are looking for brands that have already launched and have some traction in the marketplace, which can be in either physical brick-and-mortar retail sales or a strong online presence. Brands should have been in business for at least one year.
What’s your mission in doing this work?
BeyondBrands partnered with SKU in Austin, Texas, to expand the SKU program and reach. For those of us who run this arm of the business, it is all about paying it forward. So many of our partners at BeyondBrands have started brands or have been at the ground floor for the retail climb—it can be daunting, and we know that if we had had access to resources and networks in those early days it could have been a game changer.
It's what all the work at BeyondSKU is about—how can we give that access and information to emerging brands?
What top attributes is BeyondSKU looking for in applicants?
Applicants should already have a brand or product line that is growing in the natural products marketplace with at least one year under their belt.
What is one game-changing piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with people who know more than you do.
What is your favorite project to have come out of your accelerator?
We've only run one cohort at BeyondSKU, but I think one of the most magical days we had last year was a conversation with Jeremiah McElwee from Thrive Market and Errol Schweizer, who has had his hands in so many natural products initiatives I can't even begin to do him justice here. They spoke extensively on retail and e-commerce, and how it has changed in the last 10 years. They also delivered some very powerful ideas on certifications and their role in people’s lives and health. Everyone was blown away.