DoorDash is stepping up in another initiative to support our industry’s foodservice operators. The delivery platform announced the launch of its Main Street Strong Accelerator, which will provide financial support and specialized educational resources to women-, immigrant-, and people of color-owned businesses. DoorDash will also deploy $2 million in grants to the program participants to respond to the pandemic’s unique challenges and invest in their operations for the future.
“The social and financial inequities that many businesses experienced before the pandemic have only been amplified by the current global pandemic and economic crisis,” said Tony Xu, CEO and Co-Founder of DoorDash. “To truly empower and grow local economies, you must start with the entrepreneur. With a commitment to advancing diversity and equity, starting with the restaurant industry, we’re excited to provide business owners with specialized tools to thrive during one of the most challenging times of our generation.”
Developed in close collaboration with Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF), a small business lender and support organization, the Accelerator helps create equitable access to opportunity in the restaurant industry with programming designed to help restaurateurs stabilize and adapt their business. According to the release, the grants will be made in two $10,000 payments, one at the start and one at the end of the program in May.
“Restaurants have been among the industries most severely impacted during this pandemic. And, like all sectors, those owned by women, immigrants, and people of color suffered the most, because they had less resources to fall back on and fewer connections to access initial relief from the federal government,” said Luz Urrutia, Accion Opportunity Fund CEO. “It’s clear and unfortunate that the future of the industry has changed forever. If we want to make space for food visionaries from diverse backgrounds to contribute to the future of food, dining, job creation, and community-building, we must intentionally focus on these business owners to support their adaptation, creativity, and liquidity.”
Together, DoorDash, AOF, and restaurant industry experts constructed an eight-week course that will cover topics such as marketing, technology integration, managing cash flow, and menu creation. Throughout the program, participants will create a personalized business plan, a compilation of all their completed weekly assignments, to help them implement newly learned skills directly to their businesses. Participants will also build a strong network of fellow entrepreneurs to further foster a supportive community through connection.
As part of the program, DoorDash has convened an Advisory Committee composed of leading restaurant owners and operators to formalize Accelerator programming and provide further professional and educational support. The committee includes:
Drawing on their longtime and successful industry experience, these entrepreneurs will bring expertise, acumen, and mentorship to help shape a program that will have a lasting impact on the small business entrepreneurs selected.
Applications are now open to restaurant owners and operators who are operating three or fewer restaurant locations, have been operating for two or more years, and have 50 employees or fewer across all locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. One hundred restaurateurs will be selected to participate in the program’s inaugural year. For full eligibility requirements and criteria, and to begin your application, please click here. Applications close March 2, 2021, at 5 p.m. PST. Selected applicants will be notified in mid-March.
While our industry continues to partner together and drive growth, keep an eye on Deli Market News as we bring the latest updates.