Applications are open for Target Takeoff Beauty and Target Forward Founders. Deadline to apply is November 14th at 11:59pm CST. Apply now.


Accelerate your business growth and retail knowledge with the help of Target Forward Founders.

Take your business to the next level with this virtual, eight-week program for early-stage product companies looking to better understand retail. Get connected to industry-disrupting founders, Target team members, and other cohort members while gaining access to industry-leading retail resources and partnerships.

access and

Learn from the program builders, Alana Hinkston and Pernell Cezar Jr, themselves on how Target Forward Founders was created and hear from our alumni on how being apart of the program impacted their business.


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

  • Accepting any products except for Apparel and Accessories, CDs, DVDs, and books.  
  • Must have an LLC, C-Corp, B-Corp or other registered entity
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must currently be selling a physical product 
  • Must have the desire to sell products in mass retail one day
  • Must be available for all eight weeks of program
  • Ideally you 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 (if you are a current vendor and interested in being a fellow email
  • Ideally you have limited/no manufacturing and supply chain capabilities

*Companies must align with Beauty & Cosmetics, Food & Beverage, Home, Household, 
Baby, Over the Counter or Toys & Entertainment categories.



Founders apply online, and selected applicants will be invited for a virtual panel interview. Awarded participants will be notified of acceptance into the program by January 1st. Interviews are not guaranteed.


Program runs January 25, 2022 – March 17, 2022
This 8-week program includes virtual live workshops with industry leading experts and founders. There will be group and one-on-one sessions for 3 hours Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with optional Thursday office hours. All sessions will also be available on demand.
 A $5,000 stipend will be provided to all participants.


Cohort members leave with a Retail Action Plan, a custom week by week guided plan on how to prepare their business for retail. And as a member of Accelerators Alumni, you gain access to exclusive workshops, office hours with the accelerator team and more.

But the program doesn’t end after the capstone event! As a member of Accelerators Alumni, you gain access to continued support, exclusive events and more.

want to
learn more?

Informational Webinar

Join the Accelerators team to learn more about the current open applications for Takeoff Beauty & Forward Founders. In this webinar you will get an overview of the Target Takeoff Beauty & Target Forward Founders program, a better understanding of which program is best for you, and the ability to ask the program managers questions. Watch the recording.

October 26, 2021 at 4:30pm CST

Application Tips & Tricks

Working on your application for Forward Founders/Takeoff and have questions? Join the Target Accelerators team to get tips and tricks on how to have your application stand out. Watch the recording.

November 2, 2021 at 12pm CST

Target Accelerators – Forward Founders Ask Me Anything Webinar

Join the Forward Founders program team and alumni to learn more about the Forward Founders program. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to ask their lingering questions. Register here.

November 8, 2021 at 12pm CST

team up.

We are looking for subject matter experts, industry-disrupting founders, VCs and more to join us as we continue to educate the next generation of wealth building companies. Fill out and submit your form and someone from our program team will contact you.


fresh forward thinking

This year saw our first Target Forward Founders cohort officially complete their program. Over the course of eight weeks, 31 unique companies learned the essentials of mass retail, connected with industry-breaking founders and received access to industry-leading retail resources and partnerships. Take a listen to hear from the cohort participants on what being a part of this program meant to them.

When building this program what was most important was to build with founders. This isn't just from the retailer perspective, it's also from the founder perspective.

Alana Hinkston Lead Pipeline Manager for Target Accelerators
Alana Hinkston

There's no better time for this program than now. As a founder within the package goods space, when you do look for resources or support, it's very hard to find any.

Pernell Cezar Jr Co-Founder and CEO of BLK & Bold
Pernell Cezar Jr

The Forward Founders program is nothing short of incredible and I would even say life-changing. Seriously, you all believed in us in a pivotal moment in our lives and gave us a guide to get to where we want to be. We won't ever take it for granted and in our toughest days, we'll look back to what we heard during these sessions to be inspired again. We're happy that we get to take amazing connections and resources with us. Thank you to everyone who took part in making this program a reality.


What are the financial terms of the program?

There will a $5000 stipend given to cover program costs.

If I participate, does Target own my idea?

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

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

By applying and/or participating in any of Target’s Accelerator programs, 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?

We’re looking for promising founders and startups 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 will never force you to share information with the other members of the cohort.

How many companies will be accepted into the new pipeline program?

We will be accepting up to 30 companies for our Summer 2021 cohort.

Who is eligible for this program?

This program is open to early-stage founders currently selling products who are interested in retail.

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

Yes! All Target Accelerator programs are open to startups across the globe.

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

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 sense for your company.

Do I need a working website to apply?


Can I work my fulltime job and participate?

Yes. The program is designed to be after most working hours and flexible to your schedule.

Do I meet the buyer of my category?

Throughout the program you will have the opportunity to meet Target thought leaders, some of which are buyers. Participants in the program are not guaranteed the opportunity to meet/pitch the buyer of their category or the opportunity to be selected for .com or Target stores.

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