‘Your business has to work when it’s small in order to survive to the point where it gets big.’

– “Small Is the New Big: and 193 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas” by Seth Godin, 2006

Are you ready to scale?

The PA Wilds Center is aiming to help move more than $4M in local products and services in the region by 2030, in addition to growth opportunities presented by the PA Wilds $1.8B nature tourism industry.

The PA Wilds PACE Program is designed for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses and leverage the Pennsylvania Wilds brand and marketing opportunities. The cohort, comprised of members of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, will help entrepreneurs look backward, forward and outward to set their businesses up for long-term success. Participants will learn how to utilize their financial statements to project future business growth and will delve into how to better understand their audiences in order to strengthen messaging. Other topics to be covered include: how to price products or services for long-term sustainability, when and how to bring on additional staff, and entrepreneurship ethics.

Learn how to position your small business for growth in 2020 and beyond by leveraging the PA Wilds entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Does this sound like your PACE? 



You’re past the initial business planning phase and you’ve been successful, but you need to find your route to meet your goals. Do you know your endgame? Where do you see your business in 5, 10 or 20 years? How can your existing financial documents help you get there?



Things are going well, but you know there are ways to tap into something greater. Accelerate with the PA Wilds brand and related market opportunities. How can you use what you know about your audience or leverage the PA Wilds brand to increase sales and profit?



You’ve demonstrated you have a good idea and that there is a demand for it. It’s easy to sit back and watch, but it’s more rewarding to watch your idea really take off. How do continue to commit to your business and its future growth?



All the pieces are in place. Now it’s time to expand. Expanding your network and your opportunities will ultimately expand your business. What partnerships do you see as beneficial to your long-term success?

Why PA Wilds PACE?

Join the only cohort focused on business growth in the PA Wilds. 
Key program features include:


* Ten weeks of round-table discussions on topics that impact your business in the PA Wilds
* Provides valuable knowledge and encourages the exchange of ideas between business owners in the Wilds Cooperative of PA


* Top business books so you don’t have to figure out where to start
* One-on-one interaction and guidance with business consulting professionals
* Individualized referrals to our regional and state partners for specialized services


* Demonstrating useful tools for all business types
* Addressing the unique needs of your business
* Provided by a variety of specialists

Are you ready to pick up the PA Wilds PACE?



The PA Wilds PACE Cohort is only open to members of the Wilds Cooperative of PA. 



The 2021 Cohort will start in Mid March 2021 and will run for 10 weeks, with two (2) 1-hour sessions per week.  Please be sure your schedule allows for this type of commitment and review some of the top FAQs before applying. 

FAQs ~ PA Wilds PACE Cohort

  1. Defining Your Product/Service
  2. Understanding Your Customer
  3. Self-Assessment
  4. Building Customer Relationships
  5. Pricing Your Product
  6. Understanding 4 Key Financial Documents (P&L, Balance Sheet, Income Statement & Budget)
  7. Costs and Forecasting
  8. Human Resources
  9. Business Ethics
  10. Personal Finance

Attendance to at least 8 of the 10 sessions is required to receive a certificate of completion. The worksheets, assigned readings, and exercises are not collected and scored each week, but they add significant value to the experience.

Yes! At the PA Wilds Center, we set an organization-wide goal to “Build an entrepreneurial ecosystem tied to the region’s lifestyle brand and public lands that moves $4 million annually in local products and services and helps rural businesses and communities to thrive.”

This is a multi-phase plan that started with establishing a commerce platform (PA Wilds Conservation Shop) that can move PA Wilds Made products. We purchase shop inventory from producers in the Wilds Cooperative of PA and Since 2016, the PA Wilds Conservation Shop has invested more than $300 thousand on locally produced products to resell online and at our physical gift shop at Kinzua Bridge State Park. Our next phases include expanding the PA Wilds Conservation Shop’s retail footprint, as well as connecting more makers to business to business opportunities as well as markets outside of the PA Wilds region. As we continue to grow these opportunities we look to expand professional development so that our makers can scale their businesses too.

Read more about it in our Strategic Plan here. This goal falls under the heading of “DELIVER” which begins on page 22.

PA Wilds PACE is a 10-week program, for Wilds Cooperative members, with meetings taking place online twice a week. However, there will be opportunities to meet in person as well. With lessons made available online through TalentLMS, a Learning Management System, participants will have access to a variety of course materials and discussion opportunities. Participants will be required to read course materials, complete worksheets pertaining to their businesses, and engage in discussions with other entrepreneurs.

Members of the Wilds Cooperative are eligible to apply to PA Wilds PACE. The Cohort is designed specifically for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses and leverage the Pennsylvania Wilds brand and marketing opportunities.

Tags: Cohort, WCO

The Cohort will kick-off on February 17, 2020, and the kick-off is an in-person session (location TBA).
Sessions will run for 10 weeks, meeting virtually on Mondays and Thursdays from 7-8 pm. The Cohort will commence with a graduation ceremony on April 27, 2020 (location and time TBA).

Tags: Cohort, WCO

No. The sessions will be held virtually, so you will need access to a computer with a webcam and an internet connection. The kick-off and graduation sessions will be held in person at a location TBD.

Tags: Cohort, WCO

Each member will need to utilize a computer with a webcam and internet to access course materials. Based on the location of cohort members we will work with partner organizations to provide access to webcam equipment. We want to make this program accessible to our members, during the interview process we will discuss internet access and work with you to determine a path to accessibility if accepted to the cohort.

Tags: Cohort, WCO

The Cohort costs $2,500 per participant. BUT thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania members are eligible to participate in the 2020 PA Wilds PACE Cohort for FREE!

Tags: Cohort, WCO

No, PA Wilds PACE is not a credited course.

Tags: Cohort, WCO





The application consists of information in your member profile (please make sure it is complete) and additional questions in our registration form.  

The application is closed and will open late fall 2020. 

Send an email to be notified when the application opens

Meet the PA Wilds PACE Team

PA Wilds PACE will be led by seasoned business consultants from the Covation Center, an entrepreneurial consulting firm based out of Williamsport that offers coworking space and workshops.

The Covation Center’s approach blends curriculum-based and facilitated cohorts with customized one-on-one mentoring to ensure each participating entrepreneur is able to develop their own unique plan for business growth. This model has been successfully demonstrated in the Scale-Up America program and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Engage! Program.

Administrative staff from the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. — the nonprofit organization that manages the Wilds Cooperative of PA business network — will serve as coaches, helping to create opportunities for engagement and also infusing information about how participating entrepreneurs can more successfully leverage the PA Wilds brand in their businesses.

Dr. Stephan Brady

Executive Director
Covation Center

Stephanie Desaulniers

Director of Operations
Covation Center


Small Business Consultant 
Covation Center


EVP Creative Commerce
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship


Communications Manager
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

Meet the 2020 PA Wilds PACE Cohort

2020 PACE Cohort Directory

Good things are in the works

Here’s what WCO members are saying about their experiences working with the Covation Center Team:

“I really had no idea how much I would gain when I first joined the Covation Center’s cohort. Having no real business background before starting a business, I truly did not know what I didn’t know. I directly attribute business growth & profitability to some of the systems and strategies taught over those weeks. The cohort was an amazing opportunity to meet and grow with other local small businesses – some of whom we now also have business relationships with as well.”

Karl Fisher

Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Co.

It was great sitting with a room full of small business owners discussing our value. One person didn’t place much value on themselves. We all decided together that we all need to know how valuable we are as a person and know that what we bring to the table as a business is of great value. Then we need to understand that our customers are very valuable and to treat ourselves, business and customers as such.

Gayle Miller

Gayle’s Kombucha & Kitchen Creations

The 2020 Cohort was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.