Founded Outdoors, the national platform for outdoor entrepreneurs, has partnered with the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) in a year-long program to educate and connect entrepreneurs with the state’s product design and scaled manufacturing opportunities.
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 multiple product categories.
“While there’s a significant desire among all our founders to manufacture domestically, there’s also a real need to better understand the costs, considerations and challenges. With a lengthy manufacturing legacy as well as a historic role in the outdoor economy, Michigan has a unique ability to speak empathetically to the needs of our small outdoor businesses owners,” said Katie Doherty, Founded Outdoors director of partnerships.
“Michigan has always been the place where innovation meets production, and we’re excited to bring that story to life with Founded Outdoors and their diverse community of entrepreneurs from across the country — which includes many BIPOC-led startups,” said Brad Garmon, Senior Strategic Advisory & Executive Director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “We’re partnering with Michigan’s industrial and innovation leaders to show the world how we can help entrepreneurs turn ideas and dreams into physical products here, and in doing so, letting them know we are committed to helping the entire outdoor industry become more inclusive, sustainable and impactful.”
“Being able to connect with a wide range of outdoor-oriented entrepreneurs is a remarkable opportunity for Michigan, as it enables us to strengthen the natural connection between the opportunities and knowledge available here and the needs of the growing Founded Outdoors community,” said Colin Dillon of Pure Michigan Business Connect.
The Michigan partnership began in March and is open to all Founded Outdoors community members. The scope of the program includes a series of hosted online workshops and office hours this spring and summer, as well as an in-person tour of Michigan design and manufacturing facilities this fall.
The first session of the the Founded Outdoors workshop, held in March, was specifically oriented around helping textile-based gear producers gain a better understanding of the process of preparing for scaled manufacturing as well as identifying and connecting with domestic manufacturers.
Future workshops will span a range of topics, including key conversations on product development, creating tech packs, preparing for conversations with factories, inventory planning, new processes for small-scale onshore production, and how to understand the sustainability considerations of domestic manufacturers.
ABOUT MICHIGAN: For more than 100 years, Michigan has been the place where innovation meets the outdoors. From inventing the modern snowboard and synthetic fly line, to designing the iconic Ford Bronco and the world’s first “all-electric adventure vehicle” at Rivian, Michigan has always been the place to design, develop, and deliver the tools and gear of the great outdoors. As the outdoor industry continues to evolve and address new challenges, including sustainability, diversity and inclusion, Michigan remains – as it has always been – the place where the outdoors is invented, and reinvented. Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation economy contributed $10.8 Billion in value-add in 2021, supporting nearly 110,00 jobs and $4.7 billion in compensation to employee households. Nearly 6,000 of Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation jobs are in outdoor recreation-related manufacturing, including boating, RV and gear manufacturing. For more information on the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office please go HERE. For more information on Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) please go HERE.
ABOUT FOUNDED OUTDOORS: 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. The Founded Outdoors 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. Founded Outdoors programming includes business accelerator initiatives and fundraising pitch events; and partnerships with organizations including REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures and the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. To learn more about Founded Outdoors, please go LINK. To become a member of the Founded Outdoors community please go LINK.