BOULDER, COLO. — A collective of consumer packaged goods leaders is launching a trade show preparation program for food and beverage entrepreneurs of color.

Supported by Informa Markets’ New Hope Network and the Specialty Food Association, the new (included) Access offering by (included) CPG will provide sponsored trade show exhibition, mentorship and more to diverse founders, who historically have lacked access to resources and capital. Two eight-week cohorts will culminate with participation at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., March 7-11 and the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York June 25-27.

"Founders of color face a number of additional hurdles in their entrepreneurial journeys, including lack of access to pivotal industry events, the resources to optimize for trade show success, and the network to reach key decision-makers,” said Cindy Li, director of (included) Access and founder and chief executive officer of Uproot Teas. “(included) Access is a game-changing opportunity for emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) founders who are ready to take their brands to the next level.”

Brand owners may apply for the first cohort through Dec. 2 at Ten businesses will be selected to receive free booths, speaking engagements and networking opportunities at Natural Products Expo West. Applications for the second cohort will open in February.

"Supporting BIPOC founders through (included) Access is an honor, and we are excited to raise the visibility and provide an important jump start for the Access brands this year at Expo West and beyond," said Carlotta Mast, senior vice president and market leader at New Hope Network. "The CPG and retail ecosystem needs these companies to reach its full potential, and consumers are demonstrating a clear desire for food and other products that represent who they are and cater to their tastes."

Bill Lynch, president of the Specialty Food Association, added, “As a not-for-profit membership trade association, the Specialty Food Association is dedicated to creating a more inclusive specialty food community of members. Supporting (included) allows us to put our values into action and provide an opportunity at our Fancy Food Shows for under-served communities to experience what makes our industry so special.”

Founded in 2020, (included) CPG previously partnered with New Hope Network and Specialty Food Association to showcase emerging brands led by diverse entrepreneurs. The upcoming Winter Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas will feature a selection of (included) CPG exhibitors, such as HibisBloom, Mojave Mallows, Niramaya Foods, One Stripe Chai, Power Up Foods, Route to India, Sanchi Foods, Urja, Wild Orchard and Wonder Monday.

“As BIPOC founders whose mission is to make an impact at scale for both people and the planet there are so many challenges we face each and every day that make it an uphill battle,” said Michael D. Ham, president of Wild Orchard. “So, we are extremely thankful and appreciative of the efforts made by (included) CPG and the Specialty Food Association to empower us with your resources, support, and advocacy to help us realize our dreams.”