R E I Co-op Path Ahead Ventures Navigate

R E I Co-op Path Ahead Ventures Navigate

You set the course. We help you Navigate.
Two smiling women of color, adventuring outdoors and looking into the distance.

Navigate empowers founders to scale your business

The Navigate program supports emerging Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs in the outdoor industry by offering opportunities to connect, learn, and grow. We provide funding, mentorship, curated programming, and access to REI’s experts in production, distribution, marketing services, and talent.

Applications are currently closed

Structured, hands-on support

Navigate is a 4-month program providing a customized learning experience that addresses your company’s specific pain points and equips you with funding, mentorship, and strategic guidance. You’ll have opportunities to meet with and learn from experienced partners both inside and outside the industry. Through your cohort, you'll build a network with founders of companies at a similar stage.

Individualized support

In addition to group programming, our subject matter experts will dive deep with you one-on-one in areas such as company strategy, financial planning, social media and public relations, go-to-market and sales, and sourcing and production.

Customer connection

You will benefit from insights we've gained from REI's 20 million+ members in areas relevant to your product, marketing, and sales. Program events like our Founders Market will put you directly in front of REI members and customers.

Capital investment

Not only will all Navigate participants receive a $25,000 grant, you will also have the option for direct investments from our $30M fund.

Community network

Partnership is key to who we are as a brand and organization. You'll have direct access to an outdoor-focused community of mentors, investors, experts, other founders, and REI Co-op connections.
Not a great fit for Navigate? Check out our other programs.
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Interested in joining us?

Check out our application criteria:

You have built a company that provides a product that aligns with REI values, inspires people, and equips them in their outdoor lives.
Your business is in the activity or outside categories (apparel, footwear, gear, or CPG).
You have at least one founder who is Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, or Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), holds an active leadership position in the company, and who received at least 20% founder's equity at initial incorporation.
You are over 18, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and your company is U.S.-based.
Your company has between $75K and $2M in revenue in the past twelve months.
A smiling portrait of a black man resting on his elbows, looking into the distance.

The Navigate experience

See what you could experience as a founder in the Navigate program.

Founder spotlight

Founder experience

In their own words

Mitch Gilbert ,  Founder & CEO, OYA

“Navigate is a wonderful opportunity to connect with CPG leaders and founders who care about being outside. I've learned an incredible amount and made lasting friendships. I would highly recommend [the program] for other founders.”

Mitch Gilbert (they/them)

Founder & CEO, OYA

Jennifer Jacobson & Livio Melo, Co-founders, Allmansright

“Some days we were out of our depths and on others we were deep in our element. The only constant in Navigate was the feeling that anything was possible.”

Jennifer Jacobson (she/her) & Livio Melo (he/him)

Co-founders, Allmansright

Sidney Baptista, Founder & CEO, PYNRS

“No matter where you are in your business, Navigate will take you to the next level. It’s scalable and adaptable to your needs.”

Sidney Baptista (he/him)

Founder & CEO, PYNRS

Core components

In the Navigate program, you’ll be connected with REI’s industry-leading experts through on-site immersion, one-to-one advising sessions, and virtual workshops.

Six participants from the 2022 Navigate program co-hort gather around a wooden R E I Co-op sign inside the company’s headquarters.


Kick off the program with a week together at REI’s HQ in the Seattle area. It’s time to get to know your cohort, meet with the REI program team and merchants in your categories, and dive into our curriculum.

Participants in the Navigate program and leaders of Path Ahead Ventures gather outside of the R E I Co-op flagship store in Seattle, Washington.

Our curriculum

Mike Mojica, founder of Outdoor Element and a 2022 Navigate cohort participant, demonstrates his products to two customers at the Founders Market event outside the R E I Co-op Seattle flagship store.

Founders Market

Participate in a pop-up shop at REI’s Seattle flagship store where you can connect with customers, sell your products and increase brand awareness.

Kobe Harris, founder and C E O of KOBEESCO and a 2022 Navigate cohort participant, presents to his fellow founders about his products’ natural ingredients.

Live demo event

Close out the program with a demo event to showcase your company to REI employees, ecosystem supporters, investors, and other retailers.

Key dates

Feb 6

Applications open

Mar 12

Applications close (11:59pm PT)

May 26

Cohort selected

June 12

Program begins

June 19

4-day In-person Basecamp begins  

Oct 14

Founders Market in Seattle

Oct 27

Program concludes

Frequently asked questions

Want to get in touch? pathaheadventures@rei.com