Inclusivity at The Big Gear Show
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action
In addition to showcasing dozens of new exhibiting companies, The Big Gear Show will feature several firsts for veteran outdoor industry trade show attendees. Collaborating with leading organizations invested in creating a broader and more accessible industry, The Big Gear Show will highlight efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry through its inclusivity partnerships with REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures, Founded Outdoors, Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator, and Adaptive Adventures.
Over two dozen new companies led by industry innovators from underrepresented communities will be exhibiting at The Big Gear Show. These emerging brands will be centrally located on the show floor, sponsored by REI Co-op, Moosejaw, and Founded Outdoors.
The Adaptive Adventures exhibit and demonstration area will showcase outdoor gear built to enable participants of all abilities to enjoy all kinds of outdoor adventures.
Learn more about these programs and exhibiting companies below.
REI Path Ahead Ventures
Today, founders of color represent only about 1% of outdoor entrepreneurs. To help change this reality, REI launched Path Ahead Ventures in 2021 to accelerate the success of founders of color in the industry. Path Ahead Ventures includes two founder programs and an investment fund to partner with Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, Asian American and Pacific Islander founders as they start and scale their businesses in the outdoor industry.
REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures is hosting its second-ever Founders Market at The Big Gear Show. The market will showcase brands that are owned or led by founders of color in an engaging marketplace setting where they can share their stories, network with industry professionals and drive sales. Some of the featured brands are alumni of Path Ahead Ventures programs, while others are connected through its network.
Below is a list of the emerging brands exhibiting at the Path Ahead Ventures Founders Market at The Big Gear Show.
Launched in 2021, Founded Outdoors supports emerging businesses nationwide through community, programming, and connections, with the goal of increasing access in the outdoor industry as well as in outdoor places.
Their community includes over 400 outdoor entrepreneurs at different stages across product categories and is supported with ongoing knowledge-sharing, peer support, resource databases, and topical workshops and events; their strategic connections are continually built between their community and industry leaders, such as state offices of outdoor recreation, economic development agencies, legacy outdoor business founders, and early-stage investors; and their structured programming. Founded Outdoors programming includes business accelerator initiatives and fundraising pitch events.
Below is a list of the emerging Founded Outdoors brands exhibiting at The Big Gear Show.
Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator
A BUSINESS ACCELERATOR FOR OUTDOOR INDUSTRY STARTUPS
The Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator is a competitive business accelerator program aimed at boosting startup companies and increasing diversity in the outdoor industry.
The program is designed for startup organizations that are in the early stage but have an advanced business plan and a prototype for physical products. The Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator program seeks to include founders from historically underrepresented groups in the outdoor industry or businesses whose mission is to improve inclusivity and accessibility to the outdoors.
Adventures is the only fully mobile adaptive outdoor recreation program in the country. Traveling with over 18 equipment trailers, Adaptive Adventures provides and establishes sustainable programming in over 30 states providing training, education, equipment, and ongoing administrative support.
Adaptive Adventures provides transformative experiences from beginner to advanced in cycling, climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, dragon boat racing, skiing, waterskiing and rafting.
Adaptive Adventures works with equipment manufacturers and outdoor industry brands on inclusive design and innovative adaptations to further reduce barriers to participation in outdoor recreation.