frequently asked

Get answers to common questions we’ve heard from founders.

Is Target Accelerators an incubator?

No, we are not a traditional incubator that nurtures a business idea. We only work with companies that have an established product and/or service with customers.

What are the financial terms?

Target Accelerators does not invest in companies. We do provide a $5,000 stipend to cover program expenses.

How many Accelerator programs does Target offer each year?

We offer 3 programs annually: Target Takeoff, Target Forward Founders and Target Accelerator Program India. Each program conducts 3 – 4 cohorts per year. Visit each program's page to learn more and see the latest schedule.

What’s the difference between Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders?

Please see our Program page for a quick comparison.

I’m interested in supporting Target Accelerators as a partner. How do I contact you?

Thank you! Please reach out here.

Are Target Accelerators programs run by a third party?

No way. Curriculums and programs are curated by our Target team so founders get as much access to our insider knowledge as possible.

Who is eligible to apply?

1. Any company is eligible to apply, so long as [1] they are an established legal entity (LLC, S-Corp, B-Corp or C-Corp) and [2] they have proof of initial traction (social media engagement, revenue growth or growing customer base). See our Programs page for more details on which program might be right for you.

2. Founders must be at least 18 years of age to apply.

3. Each company must have at least one founder participate in the program. One co-founder or team member may also participate.

Is this program open to companies based outside the United States?

Yes! All Target Accelerators programs are open to businesses across the globe.

I don’t have a physical product. Can I still apply?

Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders accept physical products only. Our Target Accelerator Program India accepts technology-driven products and solutions. Please visit each program page for more details on their criteria.

Am I eligible if I have a product that’s already carried at another retailer?

Yes. Please see our Programs page to determine which program fits you best.

I don’t see my product category in the Accelerator program list. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately, we may not have a program for your product category this year. We invite you to sign up for emails to be notified about future programs that fit your business.

I’m not able to attend the full length of the Accelerator program, should I still apply?

It is mandatory for at least one participant per company to attend every session.

If I applied for Target Forward Founders do I need to apply for Target Takeoff?

Yes. To be considered for both programs, you will need to fill out the applications for each individual program. We recommend reading the criteria to understand which program makes the most sense for your company.

Do I need a working website to apply?


I’m not sure how Target would categorize my product. How do I determine which program to apply for?

Please visit the program page, Target Takeoff, Target Forward Founders or Target Accelerator Program India, for more category details specific to the program you’re interested in.

How many companies will be accepted into each cohort?

Target Forward Founders currently accepts 30 companies per cohort and Target Takeoff currently accepts 10 companies per cohort.

I’m having technical problems submitting my application. Can you help?

Our application is hosted on Submittable. We recommend that you reach out to their customer service team.

How do I know my application was submitted successfully?

You will receive a notification from Submittable that our team has received your application.

When will I hear back after I apply?

Please give our team about two months from the application close date to review your application. We will contact you with next steps after that point.

I missed the deadline to apply. When will applications open again?

See the Target Forward Founders, Target Takeoff and Target Accelerator Program India pages for an annual schedule. You can also sign up for emails to get notified about program dates and reminders to apply.

Does a minority certification (or any kind of certification) help me get accepted?

No, certifications are not part of our criteria. Businesses with and without certifications have a lot to offer, so we accept both.

What if I have multiple products that fall into multiple categories? Which program should I apply for?

Congrats on expanding your portfolio! We recommend that you apply for the category you want to focus on during the program. If you have more questions, please email 

If I don’t get accepted this time, can I apply again?

Absolutely. Please apply as many times as it takes.  ​Often, companies get accepted on their second or third try.

In your next application, be sure to showcase the growth you've made between application periods.

If I've participated in another accelerator, does that impact my chances of getting accepted?

Nope, it has no impact.

Can I save my application and come back to it later?

You bet. ​Please visit Submittable Help for more information. 

If I participate, does Target own my idea?

No, your idea is yours to keep. We’re just here to help you along your journey toward growth and success.

Is a founder required to participate?

Yes, our expectation is that at least one founder from your company would participate for the full duration of the program.

How many people from my company can participate in an Accelerator program?

Two people can participate and one must be the founder.

If I participate, does that mean my product will be available at Target?

Not necessarily. By applying and/or participating in any Target Accelerators program, it’s not guaranteed that Target will carry your product, service or technology. Viability for Target stores will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Will I need to relocate my business to Minneapolis?

No. We’ve intentionally designed the program to be flexible enough to let you participate without disrupting your business operations at your home base. This program will be 100% virtual.

Will my competitor be in the cohort?

It’s possible. We’re looking for promising founders and businesses across many categories and like any other retailer, Target carries an assortment of competitive brands to tailor to our guests’ unique, ever-changing needs. We’ll always protect your proprietary, private and confidential information. We’ll never force you to share information with the other members of the cohort.

Can I work my full-time job and participate?

The Target Forward Founders program is designed to be after most working hours and flexible to your schedule. The Target Takeoff program has sessions Monday – Thursday between 10am – 1pm CST

Will I get to meet the buyer of my category?

Throughout the Target Forward Founders program, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Target thought leaders, including buyers from within and outside your category. In the Target Takeoff program, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with your category buyer for a line review during the final week of the program.

Are we required to sell at brick-and-mortar stores to be eligible for a program?

No, selling at brick-and-mortar stores is not part of our criteria.

Can I be accepted into Target Forward Founders and Target Takeoff?

Yes, that’s the goal! We want Target Forward Founders alumni to grow their businesses and qualify for Target Takeoff. Brands Huppy and Sugardoh have accomplished just that.