2019 Applications are Now Open!

Are you a Nature-Based Business (respectful of nature’s wisdom) in food, beverage, textile, shelter, wellness and the outdoors looking to expand? Do you buy your raw goods such as grains, botanicals, produce, proteins, fibers, forest products from small growers? Join us for Accelerating Appalachia 2019! Applications are now being accepted for  our new program, Building Soil and Soil. Nature-Based Businesses are encouraged to apply that support keeping multiple small growers and farmers on the land to improve soil, retain water, sequester carbon, and help communities. The application deadline has been extended to March 27.

Accelerating Appalachia, the world’s first Nature-Based Business Accelerator, envisions and supports a regenerative and inclusive economy built on the values of soil and soul. Accelerating Appalachia has been providing accelerator services to Nature-Based Businesses for years, growing one of the world’s most diverse economies focused on food, clothing, shelter and wellness. Graduates of the program leave with sound business practices, concrete and tangible assets and tools to move their business models forward, and a lasting network that supports them beyond the programmatic sessions.

About Building Soil and Soul 2019

The Accelerating Appalachia program brings together mentors, peers, thought leaders and nature-based businesses over 8 weeks in the spring from April – May. Content will be delivered over a cluster of 3 day sessions in Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina: April 16-18 in Louisville, KY, May 2-4 in Asheville, NC, and May 28-30 in Cincinnati, OH. Intensive sessions will be entire days, while additional curriculum content will be delivered over segments of training days. Each session will include pitch practice with the program culminating in a pitch presentation to customers, investors, and relevant networks. Participants will be introduced to businesses in each of the host regions to further their networks and enrich their understanding of implemented regenerative practices.

As in past programming, content will be delivered with an Accelerating Appalachia nature-based business development coach, seasoned in working with businesses in a regenerative, inclusive framework. Expert advisors and mentors will join the program for relevant content areas, including 100 hours with experts in holistic business development, finance, accounting, new tax laws for small businesses, inclusive business practices, value chain development, legal structures, understanding investment, and more. These guest instructors not only deliver content, but advise each business, often developing lasting peer and mentor relationships with Accelerating Appalachia participants. To round out the program, each year, participants can receive continued support from Accelerating Appalachia, depending on their needs. Participant individuals and enterprise consistently report that one of the most valuable aspects of participation in the Accelerating Appalachia program is the connection made with their peers and mentors.

Participants will learn how to best support causes and movements facing their communities and our world, but also spend time reflecting on personal and enterprise practices to further their interest in building stronger communities for all.

How to Apply

We have partnered with F6S, the largest founder and startup community, to provide a seamless application process. Please visit here to apply. You will be asked to set up an team/startup profile to apply, but you will not be judged on your profile – we will be reviewing applications based on your responses to the Accelerating Appalachia application questions. Also, you can choose to opt out of F6S emails and delete your profile after the application process if you wish or you can keep your account open for additional opportunities and networking.

Learn More

Nature-based businesses and entrepreneurs from across the globe, but especially from Appalachia and the southeastern U.S. are encouraged to apply. We will consider other innovative triple bottom-line businesses with special consideration for entrepreneurs where mining, logging, textile and tobacco/farming industries are on the decline. We encourage veterans to apply. We encourage all to apply and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, parental status, or physical or mental disability.

The cost of the program is $1750, with lodging, breakfast, and lunch provided during sessions. Scholarships are available, contact us to learn more.

We encourage you to browse our website to learn more about our team, our accelerator graduates, press, advisers, and more. Connect with us on Facebook @ Accelerating Appalachia. And, contact us directly if you have questions: Sara Day Evans, Founding Director, saraday@acceleratingappalachia.org.

“The visionary women who run Accelerating Appalachia definitely make sure it lives up to the name ‘accelerator’,” says Grow Journey founders Susan and Aaron von Frank. “During the few months of the program, our business probably moved forward two years as far as planning, financial projections, team building, etc. ACAP forced us to get tightly organized, while providing the tools and resources to do so. We’ve also been introduced to a wide range of prospective impact investors that we might not have met otherwise. We can’t recommend it highly enough to other nature-based businesses who are ready to accelerate.”