How to accelerate your startup journey in a crowded marketplace

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Do you perceive your CPG product as a gamechanger? Pic: GettyImages/Nuthawut Somsuk
Do you perceive your CPG product as a gamechanger? Pic: GettyImages/Nuthawut Somsuk

Related tags accelerator

BeyondSKU Accelerator is calling for innovative New Yorkers to join its upcoming cohort. Do you have what it takes?

Compelling, revolutionary, progressive, disruptive and avant-garde​ are terms that emulate past participants of BeyondSKU’s accelerator program. Do you see yourself among them?

Now in its fifth year, BeyondSKU is an extension of Austin, Texas-based SKU, in partnership with BeyondBrands, a natural products consulting agency in New York.

Since founding in 2011, SKU – the US’ first accelerator focused entirely on early stage consumer packaged goods (CPG) – has nurtured more than 200 brands, including such success stories as Epic Provisions, Siete Family Foods, Dalci, Occo, Sunny Culture, Creation Nation and Fabalish.

It was founded by Shari Wynne Ressler, a lawyer, and Clayton Christopher, founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka, and claims to have been a catalyst in establishing Austin as a CPG powerhouse, even gaining recognition by Forbes as one of the country’s top CPG accelerators.

For its part, BeyondBrands’ dynamic cast of partners has decades of experience in creating, launching and accelerating some of the most reputable organic brands on the shelves today.

“I am proud our New York-focused accelerator plays a key role in growing our local entrepreneurial community of small brands to become household names,​ while leveraging the collective wisdom of our diverse talented group of seasoned CPG veterans who lean in deep with mentorship and networking,” said Eric Schnell, founder and CEO of BeyondBrands.

Mentorship Getty
Pic: GettyImages

Calling all innovators

Now, the partnership is calling for NYC startups to apply for the Fall 2024 program.

Participants will receive education, mentorship and networking opportunities during the 12-week track, to be held in Manhattan from September to December. The curriculum covers a range of topics, including mission and vision, branding, investment, legal, channel strategy, supply chain and innovation.

One of the most valuable components of belonging to the BeyondSKU community is access to its network of mentors. Each participant is surrounded by a hand-picked team of CPG founders and subject-matter experts focused on helping them scale their businesses as they navigate the program. Additionally, founders will benefit from the experience of working side-by-side with their peers.

The program concludes with a pitch event in January 2025, offering founders the chance to showcase their brands to potential investors.

Insight, expertise and connections

Shaking hands Andy Andrews
Pic: GettyImages/Andy Andrews

Danny Auld, cofounder of Kekoa Foods and a participant last year, credits BeyondSKU for his brand’s accelerated growth.

“The mentors are seasoned CPG leaders who encouraged us to share our biggest pain points so they could offer their insight, expertise and connections to help us develop a solid growth plan over an 18-month period,” he said.

“Each week, we delved into all aspects of running a CPG business with leaders in each of the areas of sales, marketing, branding, operations and fundraising, to name a few. We perfected our pitch by program completion, all while being supported by – and supporting – our fellow cohort founders and established an amazing network in our industry.”

Founders of food, beverage, and wellness startups have until June 15, 2024, to apply. Those successful will be singled out based on market traction, innovation and a compelling founder story.

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