Target-owned delivery-tech platform Shipt on Monday announced LadderUp, an e-commerce accelerator program for small grocers and other retailers in five cities.
The program, which builds upon a set of commitments made by Shipt at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health last fall, will focus at least 50% of its efforts on small businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people and people of color.
“As a growing tech company that is putting food insecurity and equity at the forefront of its work, Shipt is proud to announce the launch of LadderUp,” Shipt CEO Kamau Witherspoon said in a statement. “Working with small businesses to build up their capabilities is a key part of our commitment to help create healthier, more resilient and equitable communities. We recognize the unique role that we can play in both combating hunger in under-resourced communities and boosting small, local retailers that are so vital to communities across our country.”
Retailers in Atlanta; Detroit; Houston; Washington, D.C.; and Birmingham, Alabama, who sell grocery/beverage, health, beauty, flowers or gifts are eligible to apply until March 6.
Those selected to participate in LadderUp will take part in an eight-week training course that features retail industry leaders discussing topics such as driving sustainable growth, building a financial foundation and basic legal knowledge, as well as how to use Shipt to boost efficiency, marketing efforts and e-commerce sales.
“Upon completion of the program, retailers will have in-depth industry knowledge to help them navigate and understand trends in the evolving e-commerce landscape,” Shipt said.
Everyone who completes the program will receive $5,000 to invest in e-commerce, through a partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify. The company is providing free access to its platform to help retailers build an online storefront, optimize inventory tracking and streamline operations.
“At Shopify, our mission is to make commerce better for everyone,” Crystal Hunt, Shopify’s senior program manager of Partnerships Diversity & Belonging, said in a statement. “To achieve this mission, we must bring more voices to entrepreneurship. Together with Shipt, we are reducing the unique barriers facing under-represented business owners. Through this partnership, we will create community and opportunity for the change makers, disruptors and creators of tomorrow, because we know the success of a single entrepreneur can create a legacy, power communities and inspire the world.”
Birmingham, Alabama-based Shipt was purchased by Target in 2017 for $550 million. As of December, the company delivered groceries and other items from 200 retailers.