Brothers Find Success at Business Incubator Adam Masters, founder of Bellyak entered the business incubation program at A-B Tech’s Small Business Center in 2016. He created an innovative paddle board that sprung from an idea from years of being a whitewater kayaker. “I was handpaddling in 2004 and I had the idea to paddle prone. The sensation was great, but the ergonomics were not,” Masters said. His Bellyaks allow users to lie on their stomachs within the craft, which is what he calls the best combination of swimming and boating.
Nathan, founder and craftsman of Simple Shot Shooting Sports, was one of the first participants in A-B Tech’s Embedded Entrepreneur program. Simple Shot Shooting Sports’ goal is to bring to the marksman the finest gear and equipment that embody this principle of the “Simple Shot” through the use of simple shooting tools. The Embedded Entrepreneur Program offers an innovative approach to assisting startup and growthstage companies in reaching new levels of success. Adam is now a member of that program, too.
Masters continued to work in real estate and as a fiddle player and then in 2010 he revisited the idea. “I started building prototypes and started the business in 2012. In late 2012, I grew out of the space I had and moved to Weaverville,” Adam said. His manufacturer is located in Fletcher, so every aspect of the business is local.
“Unlike many entrepreneur support programs that can only hit the high spots by providing guidance in short meetings and limited work sessions, the Embedded Entrepreneur Program (EE) intends to move participating companies forward by changing the typical support equation,” said Steve Poland, Director of the Embedded Entrepreneur Program.
“Our main thing is marketing and promoting the sport and product. The Bellyak not only shortens the learning curve for whitewater, it can be used by adaptive paddlers and summer camps, resorts, lakes and swimmers. We are able to get more people into water sports,” Adam said.
“Having the support and copy print services and conference space is amazing” Adam said. “It’s a great resource to have for what you get. Our bigger goal is to license this out and to go huge with it. We’ve not only created a product but created our own sport.”
Adam moved into the business incubator at A-B Tech, just as his brother, Nathan Masters was moving out after successfully getting his business running.
abtech.edu/SBC bellyak.com simple-shot.com