growing outdoors partnership
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 Outdoor Economy Conference and concluding at the 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.
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.
The Good Talk
Hayley R. Wells
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Graham County Economic Development
Blue Ridge Chair Works
NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office
Diamond Brand Gear
AB Tech Small Business Center
Jennifer Pharr Davis
Blue Ridge Hiking Company
Carmen and Grace Communications
Outfitter Bicycle Tours
Van Winkle Law Firm
Western Carolina University
Appalachian State University
Allen Stahl + Kilbourne