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Outdoor Industry Accelerator Aims to Elevate Entrepreneurs

Outdoor retailer Moosejaw is reprising its outdoor accelerator program helping startups gain a foothold in the industry.

The Walmart-owned company announced that the Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator (MOA) would return for a fourth year, in partnership with Western Colorado University’s outdoor-industry-focused business development program and facility, ICELab.

Four early-stage startups will be picked to take part in the curriculum, which includes an eight-week mentorship with ICELab experts. They’ll spend five weeks on the Gunnison, Co. campus, which includes a coworking area, private office space, conference rooms and outdoor research laboratory. Another week in Salt Lake City gives founders the chance to work with Moosejaw experts on strategy, marketing, e-commerce and retail.

Founders who complete the program will be considered for product launches on, and in the retailer’s 13 U.S. stores. Michigan-based Moosejaw carries more than 500 brands including The North Face, Marmot and Fjallraven, in categories from performance footwear and active apparel to hiking and camping equipment.

Founders will also get help creating a social media marketing strategy, and Holland & Hart LLP will offer legal expertise so participants understand not just how to form a company but also how to make sense of investment agreements and protect intellectual property. ICELab director David Assad noted that outdoor media company Blister, which produces gear reviews, podcasts and other content related to the space, would be supporting and sponsoring MOA as well.

“The relationships built with industry experts in the program is an intangible benefit that is difficult to quantify but extremely valuable to the participants in the program,” he said. “Holland & Hart and Blister are a big part of that network.”

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Over the past two years, more than 150 enterprises have applied to participate in MOA, Moosejaw said. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 2-Feb. 2 on the company’s website. “This program has been extremely rewarding and is an amazing opportunity for these companies to find success,” Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford said. “We are looking forward to connecting with these founders and continuing to look for ways to drive inclusivity in our industry.” The accelerator is looking to support founders from under-represented communities in the outdoor sector, or businesses that would help bring diverse audiences to outdoor activities and sports.

Past program graduates include SheFly Apparel, Lume Six sports bras, Spruce Pup pet accessories, Pact Outdoors hygiene products and Outdoor Element hard tools, the latter of which are now available on Moosejaw’s dot-com.