ATLANTA — Consumer packaged goods accelerator SKU is expanding to Atlanta in a partnership with the Coca-Cola Co. SKU Atlanta will provide resources and relationships to startups across the southeast United States beginning early next year.
Participating brands will receive $20,000 in funding and mentorship from dozens of entrepreneurs, industry experts, executives and investors. The 12-week program culminates in a pitch event and includes a curriculum covering such topics as mission and vision, branding, channel strategy, supply chain and innovation.
“SKU is thrilled to be launching SKU Atlanta,” said Kirstin Ross, managing director of Austin, Texas-based SKU. “With our groundbreaking model of building an ecosystem of seasoned experts, we create the network of support for young CPG founders to succeed.”
Epic Provisions, Siete Foods and Peatos are among the more than 90 companies that have participated in SKU since it was established in 2011. Over the past three years, SKU has developed programs in additional cities, including Dallas, Minneapolis and New York. M/O, a track supporting minority-owned businesses in partnership with Naturally Austin, launched earlier this year.
A sponsor for SKU Atlanta is Coca-Cola North America’s New Revenue Streams division, formerly the Venturing and Emerging Brands unit, which spans Topo Chico, coffee, non-alcoholic mixers, home equipment, new business models and select mergers and acquisitions including Body Armor.
“Coca-Cola is excited to support SKU in cultivating the emerging CPG-startup ecosystem in Atlanta and the Southeast,” said Dan White, chief of New Revenue Streams at Coca-Cola North America. “This partnership will enable Coca-Cola and SKU to have a formidable role in nurturing what ultimately will become a national hotbed for CPG entrepreneurs to base and grow their companies in Atlanta.”
Other SKU Atlanta partners include Atlanta-based Goods & Services and Craft Catalyst and Charlotte, NC-based Silver Falcon Capital.
“All of us at Goods & Services are thrilled to help bring SKU Southeast to Atlanta,” said John King, managing director of Goods & Services Ventures, and a SKU mentor. “There are so many talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the Southeast that will benefit immensely from SKU’s program. I encourage anyone in the Southeast who wants to participate, mentor, or learn more about SKU to reach out and join us in this mission to grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”SKU Atlanta is accepting applications from market-validated companies with compelling founders and innovative products in food and beverage, apparel, personal care or household products categories. Brands may apply at sku.is/atl. Industry professionals who are interested in becoming mentors may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.