Applications are open for Target Forward Founders & Target Takeoff Food & Beverage. Apply now.


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

Applications are now open. Apply by May 12, 2021

Program running July 12, 2021 – September 3, 2021

Apply Now

Target Forward Founders is a virtual, eight-week program for early-stage product companies looking to better understand retail. It was created in partnership with founders and key ecosystem leaders to address the needs of historically under-resourced founders. This program offers connections with industry-disrupting founders, Target team members and other cohort members in addition to providing access to industry-leading retail resources and partnerships. You’ll learn about retail channel distribution and have access to Target’s Retail Action Plan: A custom curriculum to help you understand how to scale your business for retail.

Perfect for:

Early-stage companies or first-time founders looking to learn how to take the next step toward retail readiness.

Key things to know:
  • We’re looking for products aligned with one of these categories: Beauty & Cosmetics, Food & Beverage, Household, Baby, Over-the-counter (OTC) Healthcare, Toys & Entertainment.
  • You’ll participate in virtual live workshops with group and one-on-one sessions Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with optional Thursday office hours. All sessions will be available on demand.
  • A $5,000 stipend will be given to all program participants.

access and

Take a closer look and see how BLK & Bold Co-Founder and CEO, Pernell Cezar Jr, and Accelerators Senior Program Manager, Alana Hinkston, built Forward Founders and its curriculum.


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.

An early-stage retail company with an LLC or legal entity.

Selling product in the market with a desire to get on retail shelves.

A product or business that aligns with one of several categories.*

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



Founders apply online, and selected applicants will be invited for a virtual panel interview. Interviews are not guaranteed. Apply now.

Applications due May 12, 2021
Interviews in early to mid June


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.

From July 12 to September 3, 2021


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.

Begins September 6, 2021

ready to

Forward Founders applications are now open

Ready to take the next step? Our first-ever cohort is looking for founders that want to accelerate their early-stage startup forward. Program running July 12, 2021 to September 3, 2021.

Not quite ready to apply yet? That’s okay. Reach out to tell us about yourself and keep in touch. Contact us

want to
learn more?

Office Hours

Sign up for a 15 minute meeting with Target Forward Founder Senior Program Manager Alana Hinkston and Program Manager Hannah Roeder to discuss questions about the program and application. Please limit to one meeting per company. Sign up here.

Tuesdays from 1pm–4pm CST

Informational Webinar

Join Senior Program Manager Alana Hinkston for an informational webinar about the Target Forward Founders program. You will be provided information on how to make your application stand out, details about the program and have the opportunity to ask questions. Register here.

April 15, 2021 at 5pm CST

Ask Me Anything Webinar

Join Senior Program Manager Alana Hinkston and Program Manager Hannah Roeder as they answer questions about the program and application. Come prepared with your questions! Register here.

April 28, 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.

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 Senior Program 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


What are the financial terms of the program?

There is no fee or investment exchange to participate in the program. In fact, Target is providing a $5,000 stipend to reduce the barrier of entry for all applicants.

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.

share this program