TECHNOLOGY

Target adds a twist to its newest accelerator program

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Target is in search of new start-ups that can “make the world a better place.”

Called Target Incubator, the program is aimed at Gen Z entrepreneurs that run businesses that benefit people or the planet. This could be a product, service, technology, or even a new business model, according to Target’s website. Unlike the discounter’s other accelerator programs however, Target Incubator will have a virtual learning component.

Participants, which must have a majority (51%-plus) ownership in their company, will submit materials — such as a pitch deck, formal business plan, or launch schedule — on the retailer’s application portal by Oct. 29. Following a round of interviews, eight companies will be chosen on Dec. 5, and receive a $10,000 stipend from Target.

These candidates will also be required to complete one hour of virtual programming each week from late April through June, 2019. Then two members from each of company will relocate to Target’s Minneapolis headquarters for eight weeks from June through August. During this period, candidates will work with mentors from Target and other businesses, as well as attend tailored workshops, learning sessions, and team-building events, the site reported.

“We designed this new incubator for the Gen Z entrepreneur to provide them with a platform to test, learn and ultimately flourish,” the website said. “We want to support the next generation of innovators, change makers and leaders in a way that matters. They see the world differently, and therefore recognize solutions to problems differently. And we already see that they are taking action with new businesses.”

Target Incubator is the newest program in the discounter’s accelerator portfolio. The retailer also offers Target + Techstars, a program aimed at uncovering new tech start-up companies, and Target Takeoff, which is focused on supporting emerging businesses that solve problems in areas where the discounter hopes to grow its business.

This year’s Target Takeoff focused on beauty solutions. The program kicked off with a week-long retail boot camp at the company’s headquarters in April, and concluded in May, with startups participating in a product showcase with Target leaders.

The next Target + Techstars program, which launched in July, included 10 new retail tech companies that presented their concepts at a demo day on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

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