growing outdoors partnership

Waypoint Accelerator

Waypoint Accelerator is an outdoor entrepreneurship and innovation accelerator program for early-stage, outdoor-focused companies who have recently embarked on their journey or are still at the trailhead waiting to take the first step.

The first and only outdoor accelerator on the east coast

Uniquely harnesses the outdoor industry and venture development expertise of mentors and partners to elevate your outdoor venture to the next peak. Cohort members are embedded in a strong network of mentors and peers that can help refine company plans and products, get critical feedback, and ultimately get to market faster.

The program components include action-focused peer cohort sessions, a robust outdoor industry mentor network, and assistance with access to growth capital. 

A Few Key Highlights:

  • Based in Asheville and Western North Carolina, a region with a greater density of outdoor recreation companies than anywhere else in the east coast

  • Embedded in a thriving and collaborative outdoor industry cluster of professionals and strategic partners, many serving as program mentors and advisors

  • 14-session intensive program conducted semi-virtually, plus tailored mentorship opening at the 2021 Outdoor Economy Conference and concluding at the 2022 Get in Gear Fest

  • Serving 8 outdoor startups per cohort from gear makers to experience providers and from concept to early sales

  • Strong access-to-capital connections but you don’t have to give up any equity or take investment to participate – and there’s no cost for the first round

  • Includes membership in the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC

Check out some high-growth outdoor companies who have participated in past cohorts below.

See the full list here.

Join Cohort 3

Apply by September 26. Only 8 companies will be accepted!

Mentors and Advisers

Waypoint harnesses the exceptional and collaborative network of outdoor industry leaders based in WNC to provide tailored mentorship, advice, and connections. Here are just a few of the folks on the Waypoint bench ready to help you go to market smarter and help more people connect with the great outdoors.

Sarah Wood

The Good Talk

Laurel Scherer

Status Forward

Hayley R. Wells

Ward and Smith, P.A.

Sophia Paulos

Graham County Economic Development

Matt Huff

Sport Hansa

Alan Davis

Blue Ridge Chair Works

Amy Allison

NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Alyson Neel

Blyss Running

Loran Evans

Rightline Gear

Lauren Rash

Diamond Brand Gear

Duane Adams

AB Tech Small Business Center

Evans Prater

Mount Inspiration

Bill Johnston

Recover Brands

Jennifer Pharr Davis

Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Natalie DeRatt

Carmen and Grace Communications

Angie Robinson

Darby Communications

Jamie Gilpen

Outfitter Bicycle Tours

Forrest Merithew

Conatus Counsel

Jake Farrar

Van Winkle Law Firm

Dave Petri

Cynosura Consulting

Wes Stone

Western Carolina University

Donald Corey

Appalachian State University

Sandra Dennison

SBTDC

Derek Allen

Allen Stahl + Kilbourne

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