The outdoor industry has a long history of directing its attention and dollars towards men, making it difficult for female entrepreneurs to successfully enter the space. Hoping to change that narrative, Camber Outdoors is working to ensure that women get the representation and opportunities within the industry that they deserve.

The Dyrt’s co-founder Sarah Smith presented at Pitchfest 2016. “It’s amazing to see an organization elevating women entrepreneurs the way that Camber does,” says Smith. “Having our voices heard and being recognized for our participation within the industry is so important.”

This year, The Dyrt returned to Outdoor Retailer’s summer market for Camber Outdoors Pitchfest 2018 to learn more about some women-led companies that are poised to have a big impact on the outdoor industry.

Meet the 7 Finalists from Camber’s 2018 Pitchfest

Creating Industry Opportunities for Women at Camber Outdoors’ Pitchfest

The central mission of Camber Outdoors is to foster inclusivity in the relentlessly male-dominated outdoor space, by creating support systems for women who want to start businesses and innovate. To drive this initiative, they host Pitchfest each year at Outdoor Retailer.

The Dyrt was only 60 days old when Smith participated in 2016. She says the experience was beneficial to the future of the company in so many ways. Since most startups don’t survive their first few years, opportunities like Pitchfest can be a major game changer.

camber outdoors pitchfest stage

Camber Outdoors Pitchfest 2018

From Smith’s perspective, this is especially true when it comes to the insight and feedback that participants are given from industry leaders. This is an opportunity that many founders would likely not have otherwise.

To participate in Pitchfest, women entrepreneurs start by submitting an application to Camber Outdoors. The main requirements are that at least 1/3 of the company be owned by a woman, and that a woman must hold a key leadership position within the company. From there, a group of participants are selected and given 8 weeks of mentorship to help them refine their pitch prior to the main event at Outdoor Retailer.

presenting at camber's pitchfest

Camber Outdoors Pitchfest 2018

One of the biggest benefits of participating with Camber Outdoors for Smith has been the relationships formed with other women entrepreneurs. She still meets up with several of the women she met at Pitchfest 2016 to share ideas and feedback.

“It’s inspiring to see the ideas that other women are coming up with,” said Sarah. “Getting to meet and build relationships with these women is incredible. We all learn from and support each other. And I think that is exactly what we need to be doing.”

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