Accelerating Nature Through Green-Business Entrepreneurs

Reader Contribution by Seth Leitman
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As one of my colleagues, Dayna Reggero has informed me, Accelerating Appalachia is accepting applications NOW for the next intensive accelerator to begin in 2015!

Businesses in the following sectors are encouraged to apply: soil, seed, grains, grasses, weather, water, sustainable food farming, clean energy, forests fiber/textiles, green building, craft brewing/distilling and nutraceuticals/ integrative medicine.

Accelerating Appalachia attracts and scales high-impact, seed-stage businesses and connects them not only with investment opportunities, sustainable supply chains and expanded customer base, but also with peer networks, mentors, and lasting connections,” says Sara Day Evans, founder of Accelerating Appalachia. “More than 35 jobs created and 50 retained, more than 106 new sustainable farm acres and 12 new farmers added to supply chains, and continuing connections across Appalachia and beyond.”

Businesses awarded in the past include: Appalachian Botanical Alliance, Carolina Ground, EchoView Fiber Mill, Riverbend Malt House and Smokin’ J’s Fiery Foods. Appalachian Botanical Alliance is a herb grower’s cooperative that supplies high quality Western and Chinese herbs to practitioners, distributors and manufacturers; Carolina Ground is the only mill in the Southeast producing organic wheat, rye and barley flours – Carolina grown and milled; Echoview Fiber Mill is the first fiber mill built in North Carolina in 40 years and is the only GOLD LEED certified mill in the U.S.; Riverbend Malt House is unique on the East Coast as a processor and purveyor of barley, wheat, rye malts for brewing and distilling; and Smokin’ J’s Fiery Foods is the only grower of ghost peppers in U.S., and maker of proprietary base pepper paste sold wholesale nationally to salsa and hot sauce makers.

“All the entrepreneurs that participated display characteristics of scalable, socially and environmentally responsible businesses that will further develop the growing sustainable economy in Appalachia,” says Evans. “Accelerating Appalachia created a unique opportunity for Riverbend Malt House to interact with the successful entrepreneurs, finance professionals, and business leaders throughout our region. Those interactions helped guide our company through a period of explosive growth that continues to the present day,” says Brent Manning, Riverbend Malt House.

“Accelerating Appalachia creates a bridge between the new wave of nature based businesses and an amazing array of mentors, venture capitalist firms, and business leaders who are eager to support a more durable, localized economic model for our region.” Applications for the next cohort are currently being accepted.

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