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Applications for upcoming programs will open in 2024. Connect with the team and get free resources now. Tell us about your business

Frequently asked questions

for founders interested in Target Accelerators

Our programs (5) Application process (18) Program participation (9)

Answers to questions about our programs.

How many Target Accelerator programs does Target offer each year?
We offer 2 programs annually: Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders. Each program conducts 2 cohorts per year. Visit each program’s page to learn more and see the latest schedule
What's the difference between Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders?

Please see our Program page for a quick comparison.

Is Target Accelerators an incubator?

No, we are not a traditional incubator that nurtures a business idea. We only work with companies that have an established product and/or service with customers.

What are the financial terms?

Target Accelerators does not invest in companies. We do provide a $5,000 stipend to cover program expenses.

I'm interested in supporting Target Accelerators as a partner. How do I contact you?

Thank you! Please reach out here.

Answers to questions about applying to our programs.

Who is eligible to apply?

1. Any company is eligible to apply, so long as [1] they are a U.S. registered legal entity (LLC, S-Corp, B-Corp or C-Corp) and [2] they have proof of initial traction (social media engagement, revenue growth or growing customer base). See our Programs page for more details on which program might be right for you.

2. Founders must be at least 18 years of age to apply.

3. Each company must have at least one founder participate in the program. One co-founder or team member may also participate.

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

No, Target Accelerators is not currently accepting companies that are located internationally. We invite you to sign up for emails to be notified about future programs that fit your business.

I don't have a physical product. Can I still apply?

Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders accept physical products only.

Am I eligible if I have a product that's already carried at another retailer?

Yes. Please see our Programs page to determine which program fits you best.

I don't see my product category in the Accelerator program list. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately, we may not have a program for your product category this year. We invite you to sign up for emails to be notified about future programs that fit your business.

I'm not able to attend the full length of the Accelerator program, should I still apply?

It is mandatory for at least one participant per company to attend every session.

If I want to be considered for both Target Forward Founders and Target Takeoff programs, do I need to submit an application for each?

No. We have one application for both programs and while our team will decide which program fits your business best, we invite you to indicate program preference. With that in mind, we recommend visiting the Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders program pages to understand which program may be the right fit.

I'm not sure how Target would categorize my product. How do I determine which program to apply for?

Please visit the Target Takeoff and Target Forward Founders program pages for more specific category details.

How many companies will be accepted into each cohort?

Target Forward Founders currently accepts 30 companies per cohort and Target Takeoff currently accepts 10 companies per cohort.

I'm having technical problems submitting my application. Can you help?

Our application is hosted on Submittable. We recommend that you reach out to their customer service team.

How do I know my application was submitted successfully?

You will receive a notification from Submittable that our team has received your application.

When will I hear back after I apply?

Please give our team about two months from the application close date to review your application. We will contact you with next steps after that point.

I missed the deadline to apply. When will applications open again?

Target Accelerators offers one annual application period. Sign up for emails to be notified when next year’s application opens.

Does a minority certification (or any kind of certification) help me get accepted?

No, certifications are not part of our criteria. Businesses with and without certifications have a lot to offer, so we accept both.

What if I have multiple products that fall into multiple categories? Which program should I apply for?

Congrats on expanding your portfolio! We recommend that you apply for the category you want to focus on during the program. If you have more questions, please email

If I don’t get accepted this time, can I apply again?

Absolutely. Please apply as many times as it takes. ​Often, companies get accepted on their second or third try.

In your next application, be sure to showcase the growth you’ve made between application periods.

If I've participated in another accelerator, does that impact my chances of getting accepted?

Nope, it has no impact.

Can I save my application and come back to it later?

You bet. ​Please visit Submittable Help for more information.

Answers to questions for founders interested in participating in our programs.

If I participate, does Target own my idea?

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

Is a founder required to participate?

Yes, our expectation is that at least one founder from your company would participate for the full duration of the program.

How many people from my company can participate in an Accelerator program?

Two people can participate and one must be the founder.

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

Not necessarily. By applying and/or participating in any Target Accelerators program, 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 my competitor be in the cohort?

It’s possible. We’re looking for promising founders and businesses 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’ll never force you to share information with the other members of the cohort.

Can I work my full-time job and participate?

The Target Forward Founders program is designed to be after most working hours (5 – 8pm CST Tuesday and Wednesday evenings) and flexible to your schedule. The Target Takeoff program has sessions Monday – Thursday between 10am – 1pm CST

Will I get to meet the buyer of my category?

Throughout the program, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Target leaders and team members, as well as industry experts who may be within or outside of your category.

Are we required to sell at brick-and-mortar stores to be eligible for a program?

No, selling at brick-and-mortar stores is not part of our criteria.

Can I be accepted into Target Forward Founders and Target Takeoff?

Your application will be evaluated by our team for which single program, Target Forward Founders or Target Takeoff, fits your business best. If you participate in Target Forward Founders, once you have completed the program, we encourage you to apply to future programs to be considered for Target Takeoff. Our goal is for our Target Forward Founders alumni to grow their businesses and qualify for Target Takeoff. Brands Huppy and Sugardoh have accomplished just that.

Tell us about your business

Applications are currently closed but you can still tell us about your company. By sharing some details now, you'll be one of the first to know when applications open next. In the meantime, we'll send you free resources and tools to prepare you for the application process and beyond.

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