ImpactSKU seeking startups, mentors for upcoming cohort | 2021-03-03 – Food Business News

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MINNEAPOLIS — ImpactSKU, an accelerator program for purpose-driven consumer product startups, is accepting applications for its second cohort beginning June 1.

Early-stage brands with market traction and annual sales of $100,000 or more are encouraged to apply. Applicants must demonstrate business practices promoting environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, ethical supply chains and healthy communities.

The 12-week program will take place virtually and may include in-person events if possible. The track is based in Minneapolis; however, companies from across the nation may be considered.

Founders who are selected to participate will receive mentorship from a team of executives, investors and entrepreneurs. The program provides a comprehensive curriculum of topics ranging from supply chain to e-commerce strategy.

Austin, Texas-based ImpactSKU was established in 2011 as the nation’s first consumer packaged foods accelerator program and has since expanded to additional cities. More than 80 startups have participated in the programs. ImpactSKU represents a collaboration with Minneapolis-based Finnovation Lab, a social enterprise launched to empower entrepreneurs using business to address environmental, economic and social issues.

“We know that consumers increasingly care about the values of the brands they support, and they pay attention to ensure that companies operate according to those values,” said Connie Rutledge, chief executive officer of Finnovation Lab. “ImpactSKU provides important and unique support for purpose-driven CPG entrepreneurs who want to grow great businesses that are a force for good in the world.”

Last year, nine startups participated in an eight-week ImpactSKU Preview, which was held virtually and shortened by the pandemic. Food and beverage brands included Coconut Whisk, K-Mama Sauce, Humble Nut Butter, Let’s Dish, Mostly Made and Panache.

“I learned high-level information on everything from sales to distribution channels, and it benefited Coconut Whisk by enabling us to make smarter decisions as we scale,” said Bella Lam, founder and CEO of Coconut Whisk. “My absolute favorite part of the program was meeting the fellow CPG founders and the network we’ve gained.”

For more information and to apply, go to impact.sku.is. Industry professionals who are interested in becoming mentors may send an email to mentors@sku.is. Virtual information sessions for companies and mentors will be held throughout March and April.

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