Twin Cities-based cities-based ImpactSKU will kick off its second cohort in June to accelerate the growth of purpose-driven CPG startups.

Applications are currently being accepted for startups with market traction and annual sales of $100K and above. ImpactSKU’s program will take place virtually and will do in-person events if possible. While this track is based in Minneapolis, companies from across the upper Midwest and across the nation are welcome to apply. Potential mentors may email SKU.

ImpactSKU ’21 is a 12-week program beginning June 1. It follows last year’s eight-week ImpactSKU Preview — a shortened virtual program created when COVID-19 led us to pivot. The program offers a best-in-class curriculum taught by the nation’s top CPG industry experts on topics ranging from supply chain to e-commerce strategy.

ImpactSKU is a collaboration between Minneapolis-based FINNOVATION Lab and Austin-based SKU. SKU is the nation’s first CPG accelerators and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. SKU has a proven track record, with successful alumni such as Siete Foods, EPIC Provisions, and Austin Eastciders. Since it was founded, more than 80 companies have completed the SKU. Learn more about SKU here.

“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, an ImpactSKU Preview alumni. “My absolute favorite part of the program was meeting the fellow CPG founders and the network we’ve gained.”

ImpactSKU collage

Founders are guided through the program by a specially selected team of mentors — CPG executives, investors, and serial entrepreneurs who are laser-focused on helping founders grow their businesses and achieve their potential. ImpactSKU’s mentor community is a who’s who in the CPG industry from some of the most successful consumer product companies in the Twin Cities and beyond.

ImpactSKU is for purpose-driven ventures with business models that support environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, ethical supply chains, and healthy communities. By focusing on social impact, the program aims to support entrepreneurs who know that long-term growth is based on business practices that protect the planet’s resources and nurture wellbeing for everyone. The accelerator uses the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, and five ‘Ps’ — people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships — to help us define a purpose-driven company.

“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,” says Connie Rutledge, CEO 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.”

Potential mentors and companies are encouraged to apply to upcoming virtual information sessions for companies and mentors:

Company Info Session: 12-1 pm CT, Wednesday, March 24

Mentor Info Session: 12 pm CT, Wednesday, April 7