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CPG accelerator SKU plans 3 tracks for 2023

Applications are open for up-and-coming food & beverage, women & BIPOC-owned and petcare brands.

graphic showing pets, soda and food

SKU has helped make Austin a CPG hub. (Courtesy photo)

SKU, an accelerator for consumer packaged goods, is planning to run three cohorts to support up-and-coming brands in 2023.

On Wednesday, the accelerator announced that it has opened applications for 2023, and shared that its programming for the year will include three tracks that reflect growing categories in CPG. Each track will be based in Austin, which has become a hub for CPG brands right alongside the growth of SKU.

SKU’s 2023 tracks are as follows (Exact dates will be announced later):

  • Food & Beverage (Spring 2023): This program is accepting companies can be from a wide range of areas in the food and beverage space, such as snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, frozen goods and more.
  • Women’s & BIPOC Owned (Summer 2023): Women and BIPOC-founded brands are welcome to apply from a wide range of categories, ranging from beauty to beverages.
  • Petcare (Fall 2023): This track is open to companies in the petcare space that specialize in apparel, supplies, toys and food.

Austin-based SKU was founded in 2011 by lawyer Shari Wynne Ressler and serial entrepreneur Clayton Christopher, who is the founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka. The accelerator has worked with more than 100 brands, including EPIC Provisions, Siete, DUDE Wipes and Seaweed Bath Co.

“SKU is on a mission to connect founders to CPG resources so they can create the household brands of tomorrow. Our 2023 track schedule is a shining example of that,” says Emily Kealey, Managing Director of SKU, in a statement. “Through our mentors, partners and sponsors, our unique ecosystem gives us the opportunity to accelerate these founders so they can make lasting change in the CPG industry.”

During the accelerator, brand leaders take part in a curriculum that covers the areas of growing a brand, including mission and vision, branding, channel strategy, supply chain and innovation.

The accelerator also provides support by connecting founders to a community of mentors that include successful CPG leaders and founders, subject-matter experts and investors. Mentors include the inventor of the pumpkin scone, the director of emerging brands for 7-Eleven and the founder of Vital Farms.

Each founder is surrounded by a handpicked team of mentors who are focused on helping them to scale their brand, and serve as guides through the program. SKU said it is currently scheduling interviews with leaders that are interested in becoming mentors.

“SKU accelerated us in all aspects of our business,” said Laurel Orley, a SKU alum who is cofounder and Crunch Executive Officer of Daily Crunch Snacks. “Looking back at our brand positioning, it’s night and day compared to where we were before after going through SKU. There was so much about our brand in the market that I wasn’t aware of and now I have a clear sense of how to move forward and succeed.”

Founders can find an application here.

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