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Accelerating Appalachia accepting applications for new Building Soil and Soul program

World’s first nature-based business accelerator searching for
companies focused on natural food, clothing, shelter and wellness

LOUISVILLE, KY - Accelerating Appalachia, the world’s first nature-based business accelerator, is now accepting applications for its 2019 program, Building Soil and Soul. Designed to accelerate businesses as environmental leaders, the eight-week training curriculum offers 10 companies the opportunity to travel to cities across the Southeast, including Louisville, Kentucky, Asheville, North Carolina and other Appalachian hubs, to connect with customers, communities, mentors, thought leaders and investors. The cost of nine training sessions spanned over eight weeks is $1750, with lodging, breakfast, and lunch provided. Each three-day session will include an evening cocktail party. Program scholarships are available. The application deadline is March 23. The program will run from April to May. For more information, or to apply, visit

  echoview fiber mill
Echoview Fiber Mill by Dayna Reggero

The spring program is available to businesses in the food, craft beverage, textiles, natural building, wellness and outdoor industries. Support of local farms is at the core of Building Soil and Soul.

“Through Accelerating Appalachia, we have helped 40+ environmentally and equity-minded companies throughout the United States over the past three years,” said Accelerating Appalachia founder, Saraday Evans. “Our graduates leave with concrete and tangible tools and resources they need to move their business model forward. Investing in small growers and farmers can improve soil, retain water, sequester carbon, restore nutrition to our food, and help grow communities.”

“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.”

Past business partners include: Sweetgrass Granola, locally sourced grains sweetened with sorghum; Hempeh, a hemp-based soy protein substitute; Baqua, the only organic, barley-based sports drink on the market; Heartland Chia, the first North American grown chia; River Hill Ranch, alpaca wool clothing; Barkhouse, bark siding upcycled from logging waste; and Carolina Ground, an organic flour mill.

Accelerating Appalachia is located in Louisville, Ky. and Asheville, NC. It is the first nature-based development training program accelerating the regenerative economy by connecting ‘basic needs businesses’ in food, clothing, shelter, wellness and the outdoors to peer businesses, mentors, aligned value supply chains, and investors committed to people, places and prosperity. Accelerating Appalachia attracts and scales high-impact, seed-stage businesses with special consideration for entrepreneurs who are women, LGBTQ, veterans, people of color, and from low income communities.

Published March 11, 2019

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