An accelerator – i.e. a seed-stage business acceleration program – is aimed to assess and improve the entire “business machinery” that a new or growing organization needs to have in place to succeed. Like worm juice in a garden, Accelerating Appalachia supplies nutrients for seedling businesses to grow.
Accelerating Appalachia is focused on nature based businesses – businesses that positively impact people, planet, and profit, and which revolve around a specific set of sectors, laid out in detail in our “What Are Nature Based Businesses?” page. Each team has individual needs, goals, and aspirations, but one thing they all share is a passion for their business, the desire to see it grow and benefit the people and places where they operate. We know the challenge of creating new business models that are not extractive, but rather regenerative.
Accelerating Appalachia works with our participant companies to prepare them to achieve the scale they seek while they connect with a cohort of like-minded peers. By joining us in the program, you join a network of others with a similar mission to create better and healthier local, regional and global economies.
In our first two years many of our participants received investment ranging from $10,000 – $300,000, with some continuing to receive follow-on investment. Note that most of the businesses receiving investment were revenue generating, in growth, and prepared to scale. More than 40 investors and mentors participated in our first two sessions. Leading social impact investing funds, new economy organizations, such as BALLE, and impassioned advisers have joined our network, as well as a growing group of individuals interested in lending and otherwise supporting nature-based businesses from Appalachia and around the world.
Our curriculum includes: access to successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and funders; specialists in the nature-based sectors; advisement on alternative investment/capital raising options: shared revenue or “quasi-equity”; supply chain specialists; financial planning; deepening your customer base and exposure to new markets across Appalachia, the southeast, and nationally; improving your value proposition; and promoting your triple bottom-line enterprise to a national audience of impact investors, philanthropists and like-minded entrepreneurs.
We provide value beyond actual program content. We continue to promote our participants beyond when the program is in session through media recognition. As it is appropriate, we have developed referral terms which lead to sales opportunities for our graduates. Participants receive a value of $100,000 worth of in-kind value from our team, advisers and mentors throughout the participation year. Participation in the program and involvement in the Accelerating Appalachia network gives your team the tools for planning to scale to take on investment or simply grow your enterprise.
Along with our individual investors, some of our impact investment groups are: Investor’s Circle, RSF Social Ventures, Social Capital Markets, Big Path Capital, Good Capital, Reinventure, and Carolina Financial. Please be aware that if you are seeking investment, we will help you prepare, but there is no guarantee of investment and we aren’t involved in any of the investment transaction.
Program fees are required. The “skin in the game” demonstrates your financial (and psychological) commitment to the program and your business growth. Your fee includes program cost, breakfast and lunch on full session days, shared overnight accommodations for those having to travel, and networking events. We offer limited scholarships for participants to attend. We also suggest participants consider conducting crowdfunding campaigns or seek sponsorships on their own to augment the cost of participating. If you have questions about the program fee or the suggested other supporting funding, please let us know.
Please email saraday at acceleratingappalachia.org or jennifer at acceleratingappalachia.org with any questions.
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