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Target Forward Founders is the accelerator program for early-stage CPG companies looking to better understand retail. It’s designed to help historically under-resourced founders be the next wave of wealth-building companies.

Get a look at upcoming program dates.

See Calendar

watch how we’re providing equal access to invaluable opportunities.


Open to most product categories at Target.


Get connected to industry-disrupting founders, Target team members and other cohort members while gaining access to leading retail knowledge and resources.


Leave with a Retail Action Plan, a week-by-week guided plan on how to prepare for retail.

key details.

Take a look at the program info to learn what to expect.

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  • 8-week virtual startup accelerator program
  • Sessions are scheduled 5 – 8pm CST Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with optional office hours on Thursdays
  • Requires about 10 – 15 hours per week
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  • 30 companies will be accepted
  • Up to 2 members of each company can join
  • During all 8 weeks, at least 1 founder needs to attend all required sessions
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  • Free to participating companies
  • Each company is given a $5,000 stipend

the criteria.

We’re looking for future-shapers of all kinds, but there are a few important things that we want to see from applicants. Final selections will also be made based on team, assortment, innovation pipeline, traction and potential for growth.

  • Open to all product categories available at Target except apparel and accessories, jewelry, DVDs, CDs, car seats, shoes, strollers, books, movies, music, video games, bath, bedding, furniture, heating, cooling, air quality, home appliances, kitchen and dining; see the full list
  • Must have an LLC, C-Corp, B-Corp, S-Corp or other registered entity
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must currently have a physical product that is available to sell
  • Must have the desire to sell products in mass retail one day
  • Must sell directly to consumer online, in specialty store or have limited brick and mortar presence (<20 stores)
  • Ideally have less than 6 employees
  • Ideally have lifetime revenue of $5,000 – $500,000
  • Must not be a current vendor at Target
  • Ideally you have limited/no manufacturing and supply chain capabilities
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Each week you dive deep into relevant retail topics during group working sessions and one-on-one meetings. Learn from experts, get executive mentorship and receive tangible feedback on your business. Attend optional office hours on Thursdays to meet with Founder in Resident mentors, speakers and program managers.

End the program by pitching your product during a mock line review. Plus, you leave with a Retail Action Plan, a custom guided plan on how to take your business into retail.


go to market

for retail


leveraging data
for decisions

proposition for

& supply chain

talking to

application resources.

Before you apply, check out these helpful resources to make your application stand out.

Forward Founders Ask Me Anything Webinar

Forward Founders Ask Me Anything Webinar

Watch the recording to hear the Forward Founders team answer questions about the program and application.

Forward Founders Informational Webinar

Forward Founders Informational Webinar

Watch the recording to get a deep dive into the Forward Founders program and hear from an alumni.

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Your Guide to Apply

5 key tips for application success.

2022 schedule.

Forward Founders happens multiple times each year. Take a look at upcoming programs.

1: Cohort 2

We are no longer accepting applications for Cohort 2.

Program dates:
January 24, 2022 – March 18, 2022

2: Cohort 3

We are no longer accepting applications for Cohort 3.

Program dates:
May 24, 2022 – July 14, 2022

what alumni
are saying.

Discover what founders learned during their Target Forward Founders experiences and hear their tips for business success.

watch the program reflection.

What I’ve learned during the program is there is no one way to build a successful business but there are specific things that you need to understand and put in place in order to be a strong founder and build a business towards success.

Angela Medlin
House Dogge
Target Forward Founders Alumni

I’m just so overwhelmed and excited and honored to have been a part of this group that got poured into the last eight weeks by industry experts and founders who have been here before. I have learned so much and this has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me or to my brand.

Jasmin Foster
Be Rooted
Target Forward Founders Fellow Alumni

Through Target Forward Founders we met so many awesome and inspirational founders and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

Holly Paul
Mizo Hard Seltzer
Target Forward Founders Alumni

meet the graduates.

A few of the game-changing brands that stepped up to the challenge. Check out Target Forward Founders alumni.

Awesome Bites Co Bathe Brand Be Rooted Black Travel Box Buzz Lite Ezra Coffee Flaunt Body Harlem Chocolate Factory Hot N Saucy House Dogge
Awesome Bites Co Bathe Brand Be Rooted Black Travel Box
Buzz Lite Ezra Coffee Flaunt Body Harlem Chocolate Factory
Hot N Saucy House Dogge

Have more questions? See our FAQs

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