‘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 PACE Program is designed for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses and leverage the Pennsylvania Wilds brand and marketing opportunities. The cohort, open to the Wilds Cooperative members, 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 resources available to regional entrepreneurs.

Participating businesses will also learn how to position themselves for growth in 2022 and beyond by leveraging the PA Wilds entrepreneurial ecosystem. Specifically, the 2022 cohort will focus on helping producers within the WCO value chain sell through PA Wilds commerce platforms and leverage the PA Wilds brand in their marketing efforts.

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 PACE Program is designed to give entrepreneurs the tools needed to grow and take advantage of these new market opportunities tied to the PA Wilds brand.

Does this sound like your pace?

P

PLAN

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?

A

ACCELERATE

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?

C

COMMIT

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?

E

EXPAND

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?

2022 Program Features

Join the only cohort focused on business growth tied to leveraging the PA Wilds brand

Valued at $2,500, the 2022 program is made available to Wilds Cooperative of PA members for free by the nonprofit PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. thanks to funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

PA Wilds based cohort

  • Five 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
  • Will help WCO producers sell through PA Wilds commerce platforms and leverage the PA Wilds brand in personal marketing efforts

Resources & Referrals

  • 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

One-on-one Coaching

  • Demonstrating useful tools for all business types

  • Addressing the unique needs of your business

  • Provided by a variety of specialists

The Fine Print

The 2022 PACE Program is open to all Juried Craft, Visual and Food Artisan members of the Wilds Cooperative of PA. Before applying, entrepreneurs should ask themselves if they are willing to truly commit to this cohort. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

PA Wilds PACE is only open to members of the Wilds Cooperative of PA. The 2022 PA Wilds PACE Program will be specifically focusing on producers in the value chain, so only Creative Maker members will be eligible.

Not yet a member?
Learn more about how your artisan business can join the network here. Note: Apply by March 21 in order to participate in the Spring 2022 Jury Review, which determines Professional Level status within the network.

SCHEDULE

The 2022 Cohort will start in April 2022 and will run for 5 weeks, with two 1-hour sessions per week. There will also be in-person components at the start and end of the cohort. Please be sure your schedule allows for this type of commitment and review some of the top FAQs before applying.

COMMITMENT LIST

  • Attending the kick-off event in Williamsport (one day event) in early April 2022.
  • Attending the conclusion event in Kane, PA (this will likely be a two-day event, depending on COVID-19) in May 2022.
    Participating in virtual coursework for five weeks (the course will be delivered via Mighty Networks) – this will include 2 virtual meetings per week for 3-4 weeks.
  • Playing an active role in the discussions and completing the homework. This is so you can get the most out of the program.
  • Taking advantage of the 1:1 opportunities with business development and marketing professionals.
  • Becoming a seller on the PA Wilds Marketplace.

APPLICATION

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 in early 2022.

Only 10 businesses are typically admitted per cohort. The 2022 PACE Program is open to all Juried Craft, Visual and Food Artisan members of the Wilds Cooperative of PA.

Participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who apply after the 10th application is submitted will be added to a waiting list in case one of the first applicants declines the opportunity after being notified of their acceptance.

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, as well as staff from the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

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

Dr. Stephan Brady

Executive Director

Covation Center

Marianne Beane

Marianne Beane

Covation Center: Business Manager & Outreach Specialist

Owner & Consultant: Endless Mountain Enterprises

Abbi Peters

Abbi Peters

Chief Operations Officer (COO)

PA Wilds Center for Entreprenuership

LaKeshia Knarr

LaKeshia Knarr

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Director

PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

Libby Bloomquist

Libby Bloomquist

Sustainable Commerce Director

PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

Dave Larson

Dave Larson

Marketing Coach & Consultant

Covation Center

Lydia Spencer

Lydia Spencer

Project Manager

Rosie Marketing

Dan Manetta

Dan Manetta

Finance Coach & Consultant

Covation Center

Stephanie Desaulniers

Stephanie Desaulniers

Owner & Business Strategist

Business by Dezign

Ellen Matis

Ellen Matis

Founder + CEO

Hello Social Co.

Donnie Rosie

Donnie Rosie

Owner

Rosie Marketing

Good things are in the works

Here are testimonials from WCO members who participated in the 2020 PA Wilds PACE Program and Covation Center’s other cohort programming:

“This program truly provided me with a personalized toolbox I can use to “do” my business better. It did not fully answer and explain every need and question but rather provided me with a starting point and direction for learning more in my weakest areas as well as actions I can take to flesh out and improve those areas where I am already doing well. In addition, it provided a way to really get to know a network of creative entrepreneurs that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to work with – there are already some collaborations in the works.”

Marie Lewis

Owner + Potter, Pine Springs Pottery

Sharon DiMichele from Rose Valley Naturals shares how she was hesitant to participate in Covation Center’s cohort program, but how she is grateful she did. Rose Valley Naturals, located in Lycoming County, is a Wilds Cooperative of PA member.

PACE Cohort Connections

Learn more about the Wilds Cooperative of PA members who have participated and/or those who are currently participating in the cohort!

Program Support

The 2022 PA Wilds PACE Cohort is financially supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce that is tasked with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

The 2020 PA Wilds PACE 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.