Companies focused on environmental and social issues such as sustainability can now receive assistance from a business accelerator at UNC-CH’s kenan-Flagler Business School.

Called the UNC Business Accelerator for Sustainable Entrepreneurship, or BASE, the program is designed to help entrepreneurs find support ranging from expertise to capital.

The accelerator will include physical business incubator space for up to 10 firms. Entrepreneurs will have access to UNC faculty and students for consulting, internships and business support services.

The accelerator is part of Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise, which is designed to assist companies seeking what the school calls a “triple-bottom-line” of financial profitability, social equity and environmental sustainability.

“BASE will benefit entrepreneurs, UNC and the wider community alike,” said Katie Kross, the Center for Sustainable Enterprise’s executive director, in a statement. “Entrepreneurs’ chances of long-term success will be improved by minimizing costs and injecting expertise and resources during the crucial startup phase.

"UNC students will take part in interdisciplinary experiential learning that shows how to integrate environmental and social considerations into all aspects of business. And BASE will raise the visibility of sustainability issues and foster the growth of new businesses that have a positive impact on the environment and society.”

To launch BASE, a panel discussion about “Branding for Good” is set for April 16. The Change, a brand strategy and design firm, will assist with the program.

BASE also is already committed to working with several early-stage Triangle startups. These include:

• CaraGreen, a distributor of environmentally sustainable building materials;

• Counter Culture Coffee, a fair trade micro-roasting coffee company;

• North Carolina Choices, a provider of sustainably and locally produced meat and poultry;

• PVee, a provider of large-scale, turn-key solar energy solutions;

• Trinity Design/Build, a provider of sustainable architectural design, building and preservation services;

• WaterPLUS, a developer of a water purification device for use in the developing world; and

• Zebra Crossings, an online fair-trade wedding boutique.