DoorDash Accelerator for Local Restaurants
AOF has teamed up with DoorDash to support restaurants as they adapt, grow, and thrive.
Restaurants owned by women, immigrants, and people of color represent the cornerstone of many main streets across the United States. Accion Opportunity Fund has teamed up with DoorDash to help these businesses gain access to restaurant education that will help small businesses adapt, grow, and thrive through the DoorDash Accelerator for Local Restaurants.
DoorDash and Accion Opportunity Fund, along with other restaurant industry experts, constructed an immersive curriculum designed to help restaurateurs grow their businesses, covering topics such as marketing, access to capital, managing cash flow, and menu creation. This Accelerator is specifically designed with resources, speakers, and content most relevant and applicable to restaurants owned by women, immigrants, and people of color.
Accelerator for Local Restaurants: New York and New Jersey
The DoorDash Accelerator for Local Restaurants comes to specific cities every year. Cohorts run for approximately 8 weeks. Restaurant owners in the chosen cities were able to apply to participate in the local accelerator cohort, gaining access to a suite of diverse resources and support, including:
- 8-week curriculum covering topics like marketing, branding, access to capital, hiring, legal support, and menu creation
- Opportunity for one-on-one, customized business advising with expert business coaches from Accion Opportunity Fund, direct access to industry experts and leaders from local organizations
- $10,000 grant
- Free merchandising and marketing benefits from DoorDash
- Opportunities to network in-person with other local business owners and experts in your locality
- Sustainable business practice education and resources
- Up to 6 months of returnable, reusable take-out food containers through DeliverZero
Previous cohorts have served more than 160 restaurant owners from 8 cities comprised of 90% people of color. Most participants also identified as women, immigrants, and/or refugees. Cohorts are guided by local and national experts to help restaurant owners meet their goals.
To be eligible to apply, applicants must:
- Own a restaurant that has three or fewer locations, at least one of which is within the five boroughs of New York City and/or New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, or Union
- Own a restaurant that has been in operation for at least two years
- Employ 50 or fewer people across all locations
- Have a formalized business bank account
- Be able to commit 3-5 hours per week to the Accelerator from mid-June through early August
Applications for the Summer 2023 cohort have now closed
Have questions? We have answers. Review our Frequently Asked Questions.
Accelerator for Local Restaurants Curriculum
The Accelerator for Local Restaurants curriculum is open to all independent business owners at no cost. Participants will learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and experts like Lauren Bailey, Ellen Yin, Beatrice Stein, and many more. The courses are self-paced and include interactive exercises to gain the most insight for your business.
Este currículo también está disponible en español.
El currículo del Main Street Strong está disponible para todos los dueños de negocios independientes, en cualquier momento y sin costo ninguno. Participantes aprenderán de emprendedores experimentados y expertos como Lauren Bailey, Ellen Yin, Beatrice Stein, y muchos más. Estos cursos progresan a su ritmo y incluyen ejercicios y actividades interactivos para que ganas el mejor entendimiento de su negocio.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM?
The purpose of the program is to help diverse restaurant owners who are looking to develop or expand their businesses as they continue to adapt their business models in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on women, immigrants, and people of color.
The online courses are open to any small business owners who are interested in learning more.
HOW DO ENTREPRENEURS APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?
Applications were open from April 20 through May 12, 2023 and have now closed.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM?
Any small business owner who meets the following criteria was able to apply for the hands-on learning and grant component of the program:
- Owns a restaurant that has three or fewer locations, at least one of which is within the five boroughs of New York City and/or New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, or Union
- Owns a restaurant that has been in operation for at least two years
- Employs 50 or fewer people across all locations
- Has a formalized business bank account
- Is able to commit 3-5 hours per week to the Accelerator from mid-June through early August. Full program participation includes attending courses and workshops, and participating in our online learning system.
WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE PROHIBITED FROM APPLYING FOR THE ACCELERATOR?
Only businesses in the food service industry, such as restaurants and cafes, are eligible for this Accelerator.
HOW ARE PARTICIPANTS SELECTED?
Participants are vetted to ensure they substantially meet all program criteria. Applicants must have answered all application questions and provided all requested documentation in order to be eligible. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.
WHICH DOCUMENTS DO APPLICANTS HAVE TO PROVIDE TO BE ELIGIBLE?
- Front-and-back copy of photo identification (driver’s license, state ID, passport, permanent resident card, matricula consular, tribal card, military ID, or trusted traveler ID)
- The most recent business tax return (2022 or 2021 with a 2022 extension)
- Most recent bank statement from a business bank account
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT FOR PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS?
The time commitment is approximately 3-5 hours per week participating in live meetings and completing online learning opportunities.
This includes weekly zoom meetings for the duration of the program, covering a range of topics related to owning and running a restaurant. A detailed program schedule will be shared with selected participants.
WHO REVIEWS THE PROGRAM APPLICANTS?
AOF and DoorDash will review the applications.
WHEN WILL PARTICIPANTS BE NOTIFIED IF THEY ARE SELECTED?
All applicants will be notified, whether they are selected or not, in late May.
WHO WILL RECEIVE THE $10,000 GRANTS AND WHAT CAN THEY BE USED FOR?
Participants who are selected for the Accelerator program and who graduate will receive a $10,000 grant to put toward a restaurant growth plan that they will develop during the program. The grants will be disbursed upon successful completion of the program.
For additional Frequently Asked Questions, please visit DoorDash’s website.