The east-coast’s first outdoor accelerator welcomes its biggest cohort to date, providing mentorship and growth in its highly competitive program.
WESTERN NC – OCTOBER 27, 2022 – Mountain BizWorks announces the 4th cohort of its annual Waypoint Accelerator Program, launching November 3rd, 2022 and continuing through March, 2023. The first of its kind on the East Coast, the Waypoint Accelerator provides promising early-stage outdoor businesses with targeted support and resources to help elevate them to the next waypoints of their growth journey.
Since 2019, the Waypoint Accelerator Program has helped nearly 30 participating companies grow their revenues, expand their teams, accomplish huge projects, and realize big dreams. Through a collaborative network of peers and mentors, in-depth training and coaching, access to growth capital, and dedicated time set aside to focus on the future of the business, Waypoint provides companies with the support, knowledge, clear vision, and resources needed to thrive.
“The number and caliber of early-stage outdoor focused companies that this program has attracted is a strong indicator that WNC is a great place to start and grow an outdoor business. Nowhere else have I experienced such a collaborative culture among a large concentration of outdoor businesses, mentors and partners who eagerly support the Waypoint Accelerator. This is just a few of the many reasons why WNC is the Outdoor Industry Capital of the East,” says Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC Executive Director, Matt Godfrey.
The companies that comprise Waypoint’s 4th Cohort were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Reflecting the growing diversity of the outdoor sector, two of the selected companies are owned by entrepreneurs of color, three are woman-owned, and two are rural-based.
“Each year it is exciting to see a diverse group of entrepreneurs learn together, share ideas, and celebrate successes throughout this program, and the friendships and collaboration last far beyond graduation. Waypoint participants continue to be integral stakeholders in the growing outdoor recreation community that has long been cultivated in Western North Carolina,” says MADE X MTNS Partnership Director, Amy Allison.
Waypoint Accelerator 4th Cohort participants include:
- Adventure Cocoon – Adventure Cocoon is a social enterprise that inspires pride, purpose & opportunity with products that are designed for the practical & stylish explorer.
- Flying Bike Tours – An electric bike tour company that creates transformative tours to positively impact guests, employees and community.
- Swamie – Swamie is a low-profile, coupling device that keeps your phone safe and secure when you don’t need it, and accessible when you do.
- Lucky Sheep – Lucky Sheep makes outdoor gear from natural fibers for camping and backpacking and specializes in a lightweight wool sleeping bag.
- Conscious Gear – Conscious Gear celebrates body diversity in the outdoors with outerwear and outdoor gear that is size inclusive with a focus on wearable hydration.
- Appalachian Riverboard Company – Appalachian Riverboard Company builds riverboards and offers guided riverboarding trips so that you can experience being IN the water instead of on it.
- North State Overland – North State designs and builds modular truck rack systems to provide flexible support for families and friends to get outside, exploring together.
- Stringbean Bags – Stringbean Bags is an outdoor bag brand, dedicated to making lightweight, durable, and versatile gear for your bike and body.
- Food for Adventures – Food for Adventures provides a variety of services to the outdoor industry such as Personal Chef & Catering, outdoor education (edible & medicinal plant tours), backcountry cooking classes, nutrition consulting, and gear design.
- Adventure Living Conversions – Adventure Living Conversions is a full service company offering custom van conversions to spec for clients, including solar, cabinets, plumbing, flooring, lighting, and more.
- PIVOTPoint WNC – PIVOTPoint WNC is a therapeutic outdoor adventure program, offering intentional group facilitation to those historically considered at-risk and those facing challenges around mental health, behavioral health, and substance use.
The Waypoint Accelerator is powered by a collaboration between Mountain BizWorks, Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, and NC SBTDC, and is part of the WNC MADE X MTNS Partnership. The goal of the WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership is to expand the outdoor industry and economy across North Carolina’s Appalachian region and catalyze rural development by building vibrant outdoor communities, driving outdoor industry growth, and empowering regional storytelling.
More information about the Waypoint Accelerator program is available at waypointaccelerator.com.