The New M/O Fellowship Is Now Accepting Applications
Chicago, IL and Austin, TX – July 28, 2022 – Naturally Network, the national industry organization representing the natural and organic consumer products industry, and NielsenIQ, a global information services company that analyzes and interprets complex data about consumer and market trends for the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) and retail industries, today announced its new fellowship to support minority-owned companies. Applications are now open for the first nationwide cohort of the M/O Fellowship, a 12-week program that supports the success of racially and ethnically underrepresented business entrepreneurs in the organic and natural sector.
According to CrunchBase, statistics reveal that 77.1% of founders backed by venture capital are non-minority1 – and despite consumers already shopping and supporting minority-owned brands2, the barrier to entry for minority founders remains high across all industries. The leaders of Naturally Network and NielsenIQ partnered to scale the M/O Fellowship to fill a longstanding gap in the natural and organic ecosystem and meet the unique needs of the fastest-growing demographic segments of the U.S. population.2
In 2022 the regional M/O Fellowship expands to a national cohort with support from NielsenIQ. The program’s curriculum blends essential business foundations, facilitates discussions with leaders and experts, and unlocks the power of the natural and organic business community to advise and support the incredible fellows in this program. Naturally Network aims to build a more diverse pipeline for natural and organic entrepreneurship by bringing together resources, tools, and community to facilitate access to opportunities and support the success of underrepresented business founders.
“Breaking into the natural and organic CPG industry today is not an easy feat, and the Naturally Network supports a thriving diversity of entrepreneurs through programming and community building. We recognize that there are additional systemic barriers that underrepresented founders face,” said Naturally Network Executive Director Katrina Tolentino. “With NielsenIQ we can expand the M/O Fellowship to address some of these issues head-on and bring more diversity, equity, and inclusion to our industry.”
The M/O Fellowship was introduced in 2021 at Naturally Network affiliate region, Naturally Austin, as a regional flagship program in collaboration with SKU, the first CPG-focused accelerator. Since the inception of Naturally Austin’s regional program, the M/O Fellowship has served 100 minority-owned brands with 100% of the first cohort reporting more confidence navigating resources and opportunities in Austin’s natural and organic products community.
“We have a unique opportunity to support the innovators of tomorrow through the M/O fellowships with our industry expertise,” said Kymberly Graham, VP, Head of Diversity Initiatives, NielsenIQ. “The fellowships will help foster diversity and empower minority-owned businesses to reach long-term success. We are proud to serve as the main sponsor of the inaugural national M/O Fellowship and support diversity in the CPG industry.”
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of NielsenIQ’s company values and we are thrilled to align with them to mutually encourage inclusion and create equal opportunities for people from a variety of backgrounds and communities,” said Tolentino.
There are 16 Fellow spots available in the first national cohort and it is free to business founders accepted into the program, thanks to NielsenIQ’s generous underwriting. Interested founders of U.S.-based minority-owned businesses in the natural and organic consumer products industry are encouraged to visit NaturallyNetwork.org and apply for the fellowship program by no later than August 31, 2022.
To be considered, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Business is 51% diverse-owned
- Have been in business for under 5 years
- Made at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months
- Ready and able to invest 10 hours a month to participate in education and networking opportunities
The selected Fellows will be notified by September 16, 2022, with the curriculum commencing the first week of October.
For more information about the M/O Fellowship program visit NaturallyNetwork.org/mo-fellowship. To learn more about the initiatives in place to help make a difference and build a more inclusive natural and organic CPG industry, please visit NaturallyNetwork.org.
NielsenIQ, a global information services company, delivers the gold standard in consumer and retail measurement, through the most connected, complete, and actionable understanding of the evolving global, omnichannel consumer. NielsenIQ is the source of confidence for the industries we serve and the pioneer defining the next century of consumer and retail measurement. Our data, connected insights, and predictive analytics optimize the performance of CPG and retail companies, bringing them closer to the communities they serve and helping to power their growth.
NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in 90+ markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit NielsenIQ.com.
About Naturally Network
Naturally Network is an agent of change. Its mission is to harness, accelerate and elevate the power and impact of conscious business practices in the natural and organic products eco-system through community-based programming, networking, influencing, and collaboration. Founded 17 years ago in Boulder, Colo. as a regional hub for natural and organic industry entrepreneurs and businesses, Naturally Network emerged in 2020 out of a growing regional need across the U.S. to support passionate and committed leaders on a national level. Today, NN is more than 5,000 individual and business members strong representing 20,000+ entrepreneurs, natural and organic employees, suppliers, service providers, investors, and natural products leaders across the communities in which our ‘Naturally’ affiliates serve in Austin, the Bay Area, Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the North Bay, and San Diego. For more information and to become a Naturally Network member visit naturallynetwork.org.