R E I Co-op Path Ahead Ventures Embark

R E I Co-op Path Ahead Ventures Embark

The outdoors is for everyone. The industry should be, too.
Two smiling women of color, adventuring outdoors and looking into the distance.

It’s time to Embark

You’re the visionary. We’re the team behind you. Embark, a program developed in collaboration between REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures and Founded Outdoors, is the place to launch your outdoor brand.

Applications are now closed.

Launch your brand
Embark is a virtual, 3-month program designed to fuel new and aspiring entrepreneurs from Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities as you build a path forward by offering the resources and guidance to turn early-stage ideas into viable businesses.

Embark runs from January 16, 2024 to April 19, 2024 and there is no program fee.
Structured, hands-on support
The program nurtures meaningful collaboration among up to 20 early-stage entrepreneurs. Share learnings, find accountability partners, and motivate one another.
Over the course of three months of workshops, fireside chats, and office hours, you’ll learn best practices from industry, startup, and domain experts. In addition, you’ll get valuable feedback on your business.
Financial support
Participants are awarded $5,000 at the program start so you can spend more of your energy building your business. Upon completing the program, Founders will receive an additional $5,000 to invest in building their companies.

Developed in collaboration

R E I Co-op Path Ahead Ventures logo
REI Co-op’s Path Ahead Ventures accelerates success for founders of color by channeling the power and passion of the outdoor industry—supporting innovative ideas with mentorship, infrastructure, customer connections and capital investment. Because the industry should reflect the true diversity of people who love, protect and share life outside.
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Founded Outdoors Logo
Founded Outdoors works with entrepreneurs from culturally and racially diverse backgrounds to break down barriers in the outdoor industry. When more people, from all walks of life, have the tools to build successful companies, a broader group of employees and consumers will feel heard, seen, and welcomed in the industry and in the outdoors.
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For new and aspiring entrepreneurs

Check out our application criteria:

You have a business idea at the design or prototype stage and are serious about turning it into a company in the next six months OR you've started your company in the last year but haven't yet done manufacturing and have made less than <$10k revenue.
You are building a product, service, or experience that inspires and equips people in their lives outside including gear, apparel, furniture, mobile app, website, e-commerce, retail, outdoor experience, service, food and beverage, skincare, etc.
You identify as a person of color from the Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
You are based in the United States (US Citizenship is not required) and you are at least 18 years old.
A smiling portrait of a black man clapping in a meadow.

The Embark experience

See what you’ll experience as part of an Embark cohort of founders.

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Founder spotlight


Our participants in their own words

Samad Hinton, Founder of BLK Beetles

"I felt like the program really provided me with the mentorship, network, and resources necessary to establish a solid business foundation to grow BLK Beetles. Finding community as an entrepreneur can be challenging. However, the Embark program created a space where I was able to find a new collection of friends who share and can relate to my entrepreneurial journey."

Samad Hinton (he/him)

Founder, BLK Beetles

Reena Badyal, Founder of Panj River Provisions

"This has been one of the most impactful and beneficial experiences of my creative and entrepreneurial career…WOW what a difference it makes to be in a space where there is such diversity of thought, fresh and interesting perspectives, and wholehearted support and encouragement. I developed a sense of confidence and pride in building my business that would not be anywhere near as strong had it not been for this program. I pushed passed imposter syndrome and self-doubt because I had the support of a diverse and caring community behind me from this program."

Reena Badyal (she/her)

Founder, Panj River Provisions

Tiffany Yeh, Founder of Eztia

"The Embark program has given Eztia an invaluable network of support and mentorship within the outdoors industry. We've built 1:1 relationships with trade show producers, running experts, and other legendary veterans in outdoor recreation."

Tiffany Yeh (she/her)

Founder, Eztia

Getting started

The application process is about getting to know who you are, what your vision is, and why you’re passionate about what you’re building. We want a complete picture of who you are and how you think Embark can help you and your idea grow.

Application Deadline

Add calendar reminder:

Acceptance Notification

Applications are now closed.

Speakers & mentors

There is enormous value in building your network, so we bring in industry, startup, and functional speakers and mentors for fireside chats, panels, and office hours. Below are some of our past and present speakers and mentors.

The Embark curriculum






Business Model




Social Media



Weekly programming


Tuesday, 4-6pm PT


Live workshops on key company building skills and best practices.

Office Hours

Wednesday, 2-4pm PT


Get insights and feedback on your business from industry and domain experts.

Fireside Chats & Peer Groups

Thursday, 4-5pm PT


Each week you will alternate between learning from the stories and experiences of successful founders and industry experts & meeting with peers in your cohort.

2023-2024 timeline

Sep 8

Applications open (reviewed on a rolling basis)

Oct 8

Applications due (11:59pm PT)

Oct 19

Applicants are notified if they are invited to a 30-minute interview

Nov 14

Founders notified of their acceptance into the program

Jan 16

Program starts

Apr 19

Program ends with a graduation event

Frequently asked questions

Want to get in touch? pathaheadventures@rei.com