What is the Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad?

Natural Launchpad is an annual grant program for women health and well-being entrepreneurs, pioneers akin to our co-founder, Roxanne Quimby. Through the program, Burt’s Bees hopes to nurture the next generation of dreamers and innovators energized by an opportunity to improve the health and well-being of our planet, and everyone on it.

Why have you pivoted to a women’s program and what does that mean?

Through our work with entrepreneurs in our Cohorts #1 and #2, we’ve realized how important it is to provide support to women establishing their companies and leading change in their categories. We define women’s program as: female founder or co-founder, and/or female CEO, and/or female ownership (>= 50%).

Has anything changed since the program began in 2016?

Yes – the revenue requirements for applicants are now annual sales of $200,000 to $2,000,000. Working with our Cohort #1 winners, we learned that companies of this size benefit most from their experience with us and us from them.  The first priority of companies of this size is frequently sales and distribution. Burt’s Bees is a 30+ year old natural brand, and we have lots of knowledge to share about building relationships with customers and expanding distribution. To make the program more accessible, we’ve also removed the First Right of Negotiation from our Terms & Conditions and expanded the program into Canada.

Where do entrepreneurs apply?

Entrepreneurs can access the application at     https://burts.evergreenip.com/submit/  


Are you only accepting applications from women entrepreneurs?

Yes, applications need to be from businesses that have a female founder or co-founder, and/or a female CEO and/or female ownership (>50%). We realize this will potentially shrink our pool of applicants but feel this is an important shift for our program.  We believe it will keep momentum in the program and hopefully gain more recognition for all the entrepreneurs involved to date in Natural Launchpad.

What’s in it for Burt’s Bees?

This program is our way of returning to our roots to help high-potential health and well-being businesses get off the ground. Natural Launchpad supports our adjacency strategy and is a source of inspiration and employee engagement. We’ve also found marketing value in our associations. Curated entrepreneur pages on BurtsBees.com have some of our longest view times, and we’ve seen strong engagement in social media through both Burt’s Bees and the entrepreneurs’ handles.

What’s in it for entrepreneurs?

The program will reward ten health and well-being entrepreneurs with a $10,000 grant, two days of coaching at Burt’s Bees headquarters in Durham, NC, and access to a community of peers. In addition, the grantees will have the right to use a Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad Seal on their marketing communications and product packaging.

Why are you promoting the program at the Fancy Food Show?

The Fancy Food Show is the place to spot the trends and meet with the disruptors and innovators in specialty food and beverage We’ve found trade shows to be our best sources of applicants, and entrepreneurs with innovations in convenience foods, free-from foods and functional beverages have been some of our most successful participants. We intend to motivate entrepreneurs to apply to the Natural Launchpad and to find individuals who can help us spread the word.

Why are you promoting the program at Expo West?

Expo West is the leading trade show for the natural, organic and healthy products industry. Businesses of all sizes attend this annual show to make connections, learn about the latest industry news and sell their products and brands. We see the exhibitors and attendees as key influencers in this space, and we’ve found trade shows to be our best sources of applicants We intend to motivate entrepreneurs to apply to the Natural Launchpad and to find individuals who can help us spread the word.

What types of products are eligible/not eligible for the Natural Launchpad grant program?

First and foremost, we are seeking products in the natural health and well-being space. To this point, we’ve purposefully left our criteria broad to encourage the very best to apply. Here at Burt’s Bees, we use a framework to simplify how we think about the natural space with product groups that include: ‘On Me,’ ‘In Me’ and ‘Around Me’. As an example, Burt’s Bees today focuses on natural health and beauty care products that are topically applied, representing our strength in the ‘on me’ grouping. While the Natural Launchpad is open to applications across all three groupings, the closer a product is to our existing core business, the more differentiated we would like that product submission to be in terms of the benefit it provides to consumers, its product story, its sustainability credentials or its patent prospects.

Our goal is to build and support an ecosystem of the very best early-stage products on the market to help grow our burgeoning natural category. Do you have a product + passion for improving the planet and everyone on it? If so, APPLY NOW!

Why does Burt’s Bees only accept grant submissions for products that have generated revenue?

Burt’s Bees defines revenue as verifiable sales through ANY sales channel (e.g. online store, Amazon, retail stores, etc.). The generation of revenue is a key milestone in the product development process, and is a good indicator of the stage at which Burt’s Bees can add real value. By selling product to consumers, product developers are able to garner invaluable insight / feedback on their products from actual consumers. Concepts are rarely perfect in the first product execution, so having actionable consumer insight is the first step in understanding how you can make your product even better… and that’s why we’re all here — to make better products!

What do I do next if my idea has not yet generated revenue?

If your product has not yet generated revenue, we recommend market testing on websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. These websites represent flexible avenues for quick in-market testing of product ideas with actual consumers. Also, as an inventor we encourage you to network with your fellow entrepreneurs, and the best place to do this is at a local Maker Faire in your area. If you’ve never attended, check one out!

If I apply for a grant, can I use the Natural Launchpad logo in my marketing materials?

Yes, we’d be thrilled to have you help us spread the word about the program! Your company may use the Natural Launchpad logo in certain types of marketing materials (such as in social media and on your website) to promote the Program itself for up to twelve months after your application date. However, you cannot use the Burt’s Bees company name, Burt’s Bees trademarks, or the Natural Launchpad logo a) on your products, b) to promote your business or products, c) in a detrimental manner to Burt’s Bees, d) in a manner suggesting sponsorship, endorsement or affiliation with Burt’s Bees, or e) beyond twelve months after your application date.

One of the benefits of being awarded a grant is that I can use the Burt’s Bees Launchpad logo on my product, but the applicant terms and conditions say I can’t use the Launchpad logo on my product. Can you explain?

Building on the above answer, the Natural Launchpad logo can only be used on your product if you are one of the grant recipients. In that case, you’ll be licensed under a separate agreement to use the Natural Launchpad logo for a period of up to two years after the awarding of the grant.

If I receive a grant, what will be expected of me?

We would look to you to continue building your business and to comply with the Terms & Conditions of the Natural Launchpad grant program. Beyond that, we are trying to keep the requirements light but to also stay in touch with each other. We would ask you to complete a very brief semi-annual update on your progress for the next two years after receiving the grant and to be an active participant within the community joining us for quarterly cohort calls, checking in to our Slack community on a regular basis and engaging with us in social media.

What does access to a community of peers include?

We’ve created an online Slack community for our previous two cohorts and host quarterly calls. You may share as little or as much as you want with the group, consulting one with one another or sharing war stories. Just be aware, you may find you are in competing product categories and you may want to limit what gets disclosed. Our hope for this group is that you’ll benefit from networking with one another as well as interacting with a group of Burt’s Bees mentors who also participate in the group.

What are the key dates of the program?
  • April 30th, 2018: Last applications accepted
  • July 31, 2018: Grant Award Recipients will be notified and announced publicly
  • October, 2018: (final date tbd): Coaching day in Durham, North Carolina at Burt’s Bees HQ for Grant Award Recipients
What will we do during the two days of coaching at Burt’s Bees Headquarters?

The Natural Launchpad Durham CEO Exchange will take place in October 2018. We’ve heard from entrepreneurs that their greatest areas of need are in sales strategies, retail relationships and scaling. We’ll have some of our world-cohort marketers, sales and supply chain people present interesting case studies and host Q&A sessions. We’ll take you on a tour of our facility, and our sustainable business team will take you through best practices in sustainability, source to disposal. Finally, there will be time for one-to-one conversations with our Burt’s Bees senior leaders for advice and networking. Participants will pay for their own travel expenses, which may be covered by a portion of their grant.

Why is sustainability so important at Burt’s Bees?

Roxanne and Burt our founders – an artist and a beekeeper – shared a deep appreciation of nature. They were sustainable out of necessity as resourceful, boot-strapping entrepreneurs. Sustainability still lives on today because it’s part of our roots and is just good business. In fact, sustainability plays an even larger role in our business strategy today as industry has evolved and realized the value of sustainability for investors and future generations of consumers. For us, it’s not just about a singular charitable service initiative or singular point of sustainability like being carbon neutral or having recyclable packaging. We have a holistic view through our value chain and our approach is source to disposal.