REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses

REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses.

Tags : REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses,

REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses. REI Co-op has created an initiative to assist outdoor business owners of color.

Path Ahead Ventures is a program created by the retail giant to support founders of color who are starting and scaling businesses. With this initiative, REI said it would partner with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American Pacific Islander entrepreneurs to help them build their businesses.

$30 million will be invested in 300 founders as part of this effort.

Path Ahead Ventures is an opportunity for REI Co-op SVP of corporate development and investment Susan Viscon to collaborate with founders of color to build an outdoor industry that embraces the diversity of those who love, protect, and share life outside. Partnership with founders will allow their innovations, perspectives, and ideas to influence the broader industry as well.

Path Ahead Ventures will focus on four support areas, including community network, capability and infrastructure, customer connection, and capital investment.

"At Path Ahead Ventures, we put founders first. Our goal is to leverage REI's network and resources to build connections and opportunities that benefit founders long-term in the most meaningful way," REI Co-op director of corporate development Dan Kihanya said in a statement.

REI has committed to adding at least 200 new brands owned or led by people of color by 2030, which would generate $1 billion in sales and represent more than 15% of all brands sold at REI. For this to happen, REI said it will create pathways for brands to access and navigate its buying process.

Path Ahead Ventures will offer two programs to support founders at different stages of their businesses. First there is Embark, which the retailer says will help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses.

In the case of Embark, REI said the accepted founders will receive an equity-free grant and complete a three-month online course designed in collaboration with Founded Outdoors. The deadline for applications is Nov. 28.

The second is Navigate, which will launch in 2022. Navigate, according to REI, will support existing founders in growing and scaling their businesses, and in addition to funding, the program will offer access to resources for production, distribution, publicity and networking.

REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses.


Tags : REI Co-op invests $30M in Founders of Color to accelerate their outdoor businesses,

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