Natural Products Business School

  • Wednesday, 09/13/2017: 7:45 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Room: Hilton, Holiday Ballroom 6


Natural Products Business School is a full-day of learning and networking designed to provide entrepreneurs with targeted, in-depth solutions to common business challenges and an opportunity to connect with a diverse ecosystem of service providers.

Cost: $195 Exhibitors / $295 Attendees (Not included with Super Pass Upgrade.)


Tackle the intricacies of raising capital while maintaining a strong mission.

7:45am - 8:15am Registration + Investor Networking (Light Breakfast Included)
8:15am - 8:20am
Partner Spotlight

  • Brent Knudsen, Financo

8:20am - 8:30am Welcome

  • Rachael Shayne, Culture Architect & Brand Strategist 

8:30am - 9:00am Opening Inspiration

  • Koel Thomae, Noosa Yoghurt

9:00am - 9:45am Six Steps to an Effective, Retellable Story
To draw your customers, rally your investors, and build your key partnerships, you have to tell a good story. But what is a story, really, and how will yours be remembered and retold? Join Jay Golden, founder, storytelling coach and author of Retellable: How Your Essential Stories Unlock Power and Purpose, in an interactive exploration into how stories work, how they guide meaning, and how your own collection of essential stories can transform the world around you. 

  • Jay Golden, Retellable

9:45am - 10:00am Let's Be Real: Stories of Successful Impact Entrepreneurship 
Four years ago, Katlin Smith started Simple Mills with the goal of cleaning up the center aisles of the grocery stores.  Today, the brand is sold nationwide as the largest natural baking mix brand and one of the largest natural cracker brands.  However, getting there hasn’t always been smooth sailing.  In this session, Founder and CEO, Katlin Smith will discuss how the needs of entrepreneurs change as companies grow and what has made a difference in the company’s growth.

  • Katlin Smith, Simple Mills

10:00am - 10:40am Profit with Purpose: Creating a Measurable Mission-Based Business Plan 
What is your why? Businesses today can be both profitable and mission driven. Doing good by doing well. To successfully compete, you may need both! What kind of impact do you want to have? To create a clearly-articulated, measurable, mission-based plan, we need to first answer the why - before the who, what, when, where and how. Then we can create shared value with critical buy in, and leverage meaningful partnerships. Case studies with insights, advice and a check list of doable steps will be highlighted.

  • Terry Frishman, Culinest

10:40am - 11:00am Mission Possible: Staying True in a Changing World
In 2017 Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat company, celebrates 30 years of “Changing the Meat We Eat.” Senior Director of Mission, Gina Asoudegan will discuss how the company’s mission has evolved over 30 years to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving marketplace.

  • Gina Asoudegan, Applegate

11:00am - 11:40am Fearless Fundraising: Understanding your Business Financials 
Entrepreneurs often try to raise money before they are ready to do so successfully. How much do you need and for what? What kind of money should you use and when? The result is often a lot of discouraging conversations and anxiety over meeting payroll. This session is designed to reset this dynamic entirely.  

  • Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute + Tera's Whey

You'll leave understanding:

  • Financial Statements: what are they saying about the financial life of your business?

  • Growth Capital: how much capital do you need to grow, what kind, and when?

  • Perfect Presentation: how do you properly document requests for financing, make strong business assumptions and successfully raise money?

11:40am - 12:30pm Networking Lunch

12:30pm - 12:45pm Passion Isn't Found, It is Nurtured
Do you want to do what you love 24/7 and also positively impact others? Join 16 year old integrative nutrition health coach, health activist, and CEO, Haile Thomas, for a dynamic conversation on nurturing passion & finding purpose + how you can incorporate your passions and social responsibility into your own ventures & dreams.

  • Haile Thomas, The HAPPY Organization

12:45pm - 1:40pm Brands Just Want to Have Fun(ds): Exploring the Funding Landscape
Join us in an intimate conversation centered around demystifying the "F" word. We'll hear from experts in crowdfunding, venture capital, asset-based lending, marketplace investing, incubation, acceleration and more! This action-packed 55 minutes will leave you with a deeper understanding of the vast and widely diverse capital options available to emerging brands.

  • Cheryl Clements, PieShell

  • Jessica Bates, Dwight Funding

  • Ross Davisson, CircleUp

  • Jackie Miller, Chobani

  • Zoe Feldman, Cleveland Avenue

1:40pm – 2:25pm What Does an Investor Really Want? 
In this interactive session, join us for a front row seat to better understand the relationship between a veteran entrepreneur and a seasoned investor. 

  • Mark Haas, Helmsman Group 

  • Jon Marshall, VMG

  • Mark Shaw, Avocado Studios

2:25pm - 3:10pm Pitfalls to Avoid When Raising Capital 

  • Jennifer Rosenthal, KO Firm

  • Carole Buyers, BIGR Ventures

  • Duane Primozich, BIGR Ventures

3:10pm - 3:25pm Networking Break

3:25pm - 3:45pm Don't Go Alone: The Value of Mentorship + Finding your People

  • Rachael Shayne, Culture Architect & Brand Strategist

  • Jane Miller,

3:45pm - 4:30pm Impact Capitalism: Exiting Differently + New Ways to Think about Liquidity 
The session will highlight exit / liquidity options for impact founders with a special focus on how to preserve mission through your company’s most 
important financial transactions.  

  • Nancy Rosenzweig, Big Path Capital

  • Diana Propper de Callejon, Cranemere Inc.

  • Ralph Carlton, King Arthur Flour Company

  • Chuck Holt, InvestEco

4:30pm - 5:00 pm Breathe, Think + Do Like an Exponential Leader 
How can you achieve exponential growth and keep the lights on at the same time? This session will give you the leadership confidence you need to create value for your brand (and yourself). 

  • Jenelle Cobb, The Food + Health Collective

5:00pm - 5:05pm Pitch-Slam Semi-Finals Kickoff + Partner Spotlight

5:05pm - 6:00pm Pitch-Slam Semi-Finals Competition


Andy Whitman

Managing Partner
2x Consumer Products Growth Partners
Pitch-Slam Judge

Betsy McGinn

McGinn eCommConsulting
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Bob Burke

Natural Products Consulting
Pitch-Slam Judge

Carole Buyers

Co–Founder and Managing Partner
Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR)

Cheryl Clements

Founder + CEO

Chris Fenster

Founder & CEO
Propeller Industries
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Chuck Holt

Vice President
InvestEco Capital Corp.

Debra Stark

Debra's Natural Gourmet
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Diana Propper de Callejon

Managing Director

Duane Primozich

Co–Founder and Managing Partner
Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR)

Edward Hauck

Nutrition Capital Network
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Gina Asoudegan

Vice President of Mission and Innovation Strategy

Haile Thomas

Founder + CEO
The HAPPY Organization

Jackie Miller

Incubator Director

Jacqueline Claudia

Love Wild Fish Co.
Pitch-Slam Featured Speaker

James Faison

Milton's Local
Pitch-Slam Featured Speaker

Jane Miller


Jay Golden

Chief Storyteller, Story Coach
Featured Speaker

Jeff Hilton

Partner & Co-founder
Pitch-Slam Judge

Jenelle Cobb

Founder and CEO
The Food + Health Collective,

Jennifer Rosenthal

Corporate Partner
KO Firm

Jessica Bates

Director of Business Development
Dwight Funding

Jon Marshall

Vice President
VMG Partners

Katlin Smith

Founder & CEO, Simple Mills
Simple Mills

Koel Thomae

Co-Founder & Chief Aussie Officer
noosa yoghurt
Pitch-Slam Judge

Krista Morgan

CEO and Co-Founder
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Mark Haas

Senior Partner
The Helmsman Group

Mark Shaw

President & CEO
Avocado Studios

Michael Movitz

Founder & Managing Partner
The Movitz Group
Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Nancy Rosenzweig

Director of Mergers and Acquisitions
Big Path Capital

Rachael Shayne

Senior Director Partnerships, Sales & Marketing

Ross Davisson

VP of Business Operations

Shari Wynne Ressler

Pitch-Slam Mentor & Selection Committee Member

Tera Johnson

Food Finance Institute

Terry Frishman


Zoe Feldman

Managing Partner, CPG Ventures and Investments
Cleveland Avenue