EO ACCELERATOR

The catalyst that enables first-stage entrepreneurs to catapult your business to the next level

Participant Testimonials

 

Michelle Chai / EOA Malaysia

After going through a divorce and losing her mother in 2017, Michelle Chai decided to start a new project to shift her focus away from the sadness in her life. Chai started Kintry, a healthy snack brand, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kintry makes cookies, granola and crisps, or chips. The idea, Chai said, was to make a snack for everyone - cookies for the kids, granola for the healthy-minded and crisps, or chips for everyone else.

In January 2021, Chai decided to join EO Accelerator, after finding herself in a space where she was having a hard time scaling up and unsure of what to do next.

Her favorite aspects of EO Accelerator so far are the community, the four pillar learning days and the coaches. Chai said she has enjoyed business collaborations with other Accelerator participants and EO members, and considers the program to be similar to earning a mini business degree at a lower cost.

“My biggest lesson is that we shouldn’t feel scared, we should be brave. When I first joined, I was shy to tell people about my business, my revenue and how I do things. But I realized that nobody judges in the program,” Chai said. “The biggest takeaway is that we should be brave, be courageous and say what we want. From there, we will open doors to meeting new people and gaining insight on things that we may not have otherwise.”

 

 

Avery Birch

Avery Birch started 365 Experience, a short-term rental business, about four years ago. Inspired by travelers staying at 365 Experience properties, Air Scoot was born out of the necessity for better traveler mobility in September 2020.

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During an EOA Strategy Day, Birch discovered his BHAG for Air Scoot - divert 10 million trips using fossil fuels by 2024 and make electric transportation so accessible and affordable that people can’t say no.⠀

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Currently, Air Scoot operates in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), a city in Nova Scotia, Canada. Because of EOA connections, Birch said he was able to launch Air Scoot in the U.S. in Miami, FL to try out a full 12-month Air Scoot season. ⠀

“I have directly applied all of the learning day sessions into the business and we are on this rocket ship trajectory because of it,” Birch said. “It has been very easy to connect [in EO Accelerator]; it is very warm and welcoming, remarkably so,” Birch said. “I think it is the best organization that I’ve ever been a part of. I can’t stop talking about it.”

 

 

Cristin Smith / EOA San Diego

After selling half of her business after the 2008 stock market crash, Cristin Smith took a six-month sabbatical to Mexico. Two months in, doctors found four tumors rapidly growing in her neck and thyroid. For a year, Smith coordinated with a variety of doctors from Tijuana to Los Angeles, in order to find the root problem and a cure. Smith found herself synthesizing the doctors’ diagnoses and recommendations since none of them were communicating with each other.

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“I kept asking myself, why isn't there one place where all of these people are under one roof and speaking to one another instead of getting contradictory diagnosis, recommendations and treatment plans?” Smith said.

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In September 2017, Smith opened Saffron and Sage, an integrative health clinic, in Little Italy, San Diego. The 6,000 square foot space has three treatment and therapy rooms, an IV lounge, a boutique, a plant-based pharmacy, a laboratory, gathering rooms for workshops and events, and a studio for movements, meditations and sacred circles.

In 2019, Smith brought on some strategic partners and investors. One of the investors, an EO member, said her only stipulation was for Smith to apply and join EO Accelerator with part of her investments. She now serves as Events Chair for the EO Accelerator Board and the EO Accelerator Representative on the EO Board.⠀⠀⠀

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Cristin Smith said her favorite aspects of the EO Accelerator program are the community, the camaraderie and the “badge of honor.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Smith said being part of EO Accelerator is similar to how the Better Business Bureau was viewed 10 years ago.

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“I think there is kind of an ethical badge in the EOA community, like oh wow, you are part of this elite group of entrepreneurs, and you are building a strong, stable and scalable business. You're also successful and reputable in the community,” Smith said.

Since she became an EOA participant, her biggest takeaway from the EO Accelerator program is the community. Smith said she built relationships that have opened doors in so many ways, such as to individuals and clients, who have helped direct her focus.