Dallas skyline in the evening hour

The consumer packed goods industry is huge in Texas.

It creates 1.7 million jobs and generates $87.8 billion in annual income, according to the Consumer Brand Association, which reports one out of every ten jobs in Texas can be traced back to the CPG industry.

Now, that industry is getting a boost from Austin-based SKU, which recently announced plans to expand into the Dallas-Fort Worth market with its consumer-packaged goods accelerator.

Walter Robb, former Whole Foods Co-CEO, will kick off the program this fall. It will focus on later-stage startups with $500,000 or more in annual revenue.

“SKU is an essential and exciting part of the powerhouse Austin entrepreneur ecosystem and offers support, encouragement and capital for the next generation of companies,” Robb said in a news release.

SKU plans to select five companies for its eight-week program, which will begin on Sept. 10th and run through Nov. 11th, concluding with a pitch event.

DFW CPG is also supporting the program. That organization, founded in 2019 by Richard Riccardi and Rick Jordan, helps to connect and build food and beverage companies in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

SKU is currently recruiting companies and mentors for the program.

“We are thrilled to support SKU’s entry into the DFW market, the addition of a nationally recognized CPG accelerator to the DFW CPG community and the utilization of the region’s strength to help build great companies,”  Riccardi said in a news release.

The SKU program will combine in-person and virtual programming as the Pandemic continues to impact businesses in Texas.

“One of the common themes that has come up from entrepreneurs is the need for guidance weathering these uncertain conditions,” SKU Executive Director Kirstin Ross said in a news release. “SKU’s program provides emerging brands the mentorship, network and support they need to grow and thrive.”

In addition to Dallas-Fort Worth, SKU, founded in 2011, has expanded out of the Texas market with the completion of its Beyond SKU program last year in New York, which ran from September through Demo Day on Dec. 3rd.

SKU is also expanding into Minneapolis, Minnesota with the launch of SKU Impact, an accelerator program partnered with Finnovation, an impact accelerator.

In Austin, SKU has a track record of success with 50 companies going through its accelerator programs. Its alumni include Siete Family Foods, Austin Eastciders and EPIC Bar.

Lawyer Shari Wynne Ressler and serial entrepreneur Clayton Christopher, founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka, created SKU with the mission of accelerating CPGs.