Shipt Kicks Off 2nd Year of Accelerator Program

LadderUp submissions open to retailers in 10 U.S. cities
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Shipt Accelerator program
This is the second year of Shipt's accelerator program for grocers and other small retailers looking to improve their tech prowess.

Shipt has opened up its accelerator program for 2024, with retailers in 10 cities around the U.S. invited to apply for $5,000 grants. The grocery tech company’s LadderUp! program, designed to help small business owners bridge technology gaps to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace, is accepting applications through Feb. 16. 

This year’s focus cities are Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Minneapolis; Chicago; Detroit; Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Miami; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In addition to grocery stores, the program includes health and wellness retailers, gift stops and floral stores.

[Read more: “Progressive Grocer Declares This Year's Category Captains”]

This is the second year of the LadderUp program. During 2023, the Target-owned Shipt welcomed an inaugural class of 10 store owners. 

In addition  to receiving a grant, winners will participate in an eight-week course to learn from retail industry leaders how to drive sustainable growth, build a financial foundation, improve efficiency, create marketing plans and get the fundamentals of e-commerce. Participants can also access course instructors through office hours dedicated to mentoring.

“At Shipt, we believe in the power of people and recognize that small business owners build thriving communities,” said Khadijah Abdullah, VP of economic and social impact. “We understand the challenges retail store owners face in today’s ever-changing technological landscape and through LadderUp, we’re proud to help them grow and compete. We look forward to meeting this year’s participants and learning more about them and the communities they serve.” 

One 2023 winner reported the program was transformative for her business. “LadderUp was a great opportunity for Fresh Houwse to learn firsthand, skills and techniques from leaders within certain industries and individuals from Shipt and how to utilize these resources to bring more opportunity to our community,” said Ivy Walls, owner of Houston-based Fresh Houwse Grocery. “If you’re a small business thinking of applying and you are ready to expand your reach and your knowledge of retail, LadderUp is for you.”

Available in more than 5,000 U.S. cities, Birmingham, Ala.-based Shipt is an independently operated subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Target Corp. Target is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century.

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