DC & Minneapolis Local Restaurant Accelerator Live & Local Series

This year, the call is out for a diverse array of culinary ventures to join the ranks of the Accelerator for Local Restaurants program. Alongside traditional restaurants, we’re extending the invitation to food trucks, food stalls, and community kitchen-based enterprises. Selected participants will embark on a journey of customized learning experiences facilitated by our esteemed program partner, Bridge for Billions, along with esteemed local collaborators including Hospitality Minnesota, Pimento Relief Services, the Greater Washington Urban League, and DMV Black Restaurant Week.

Derrick Lopez, the Executive Chef and Owner of the Freakin Rican brand, attests to the transformative power of the Accelerator. As a 2023 participant, he credits the program with furnishing his business with the necessary tools to not just survive, but thrive. He remarks, “Without it, the business wouldn’t have survived.”

Similarly, Henry Mates, proprietor of Caridad Restaurant in New York City, seized the opportunity presented by the Accelerator to innovate and expand his offerings. He explains, “Participating in DoorDash’s 2023 Accelerator for Local Restaurants helped us grow our business by alleviating some of our financial burdens and allowing us to explore alternative revenue streams, such as bottling our signature sauces for retail. We’re also venturing into the realm of serving liquor, accompanied by a strategic marketing approach. The grants and insights garnered during our participation have bolstered our business resilience, reducing our dependence solely on food sales.”

In the face of mounting economic challenges, diversifying revenue streams has emerged as a critical imperative for restaurant owners. Square’s research reveals that 77% of restaurants intend to broaden their horizons in the coming year by incorporating supplementary offerings such as meal kits, subscriptions, events, or merchandise.

In alignment with our mission to bolster local economies and support businesses of all sizes, the Accelerator for Local Restaurants: Live and Local Series aims to assist up to 40 selected entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, MN regions in achieving two primary objectives:

  1. Empowering local businesses to cultivate novel and sustainable revenue streams – Through a series of tailored educational sessions, participants will be guided in identifying fresh business avenues, marketing opportunities, and innovations to distinguish themselves and foster long-term prosperity. Each session will spotlight a distinct revenue diversification strategy, providing interactive platforms for crafting launch plans. Moreover, participants will receive a grant of $5,000 to aid in the implementation of these strategies.
  2. Equipping Accelerator participants with resources to forge deeper community connections – Over the span of 5 months, participants will receive individualized mentorship and support, engage in networking opportunities, and gain access to select business support organizations. This holistic approach aims to fortify their business networks and foster resilience.

To qualify, applicants must be prepared to introduce a new revenue stream to their existing business, have been operational for over two years with three or fewer locations, and employ fewer than 50 individuals per site. For Washington, D.C. applicants, businesses must be situated in Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Virginia, or Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. Minneapolis applicants should be based in Minneapolis or St. Paul. The program is slated to commence in mid-May and will encompass a blend of in-person and virtual learning opportunities. Applications will remain open until May 1, 2024. Apply now.

Stephanie Esprester, Program Manager at Bridge for Billions, expresses enthusiasm about the partnership with DoorDash for this innovative initiative aimed at supporting merchants in diversifying their income streams. Through a combination of local networking events, personalized mentorship, tailored curriculum, and a $5,000 grant, the program endeavors to equip participants with essential resources and guidance to launch their new revenue streams. This collaborative effort aspires to foster growth, collaboration, and innovation within the communities of Minneapolis, MN, and Washington D.C., thereby generating a positive impact for all stakeholders.

We eagerly anticipate welcoming the latest cohort of the Accelerator and remain committed to empowering small businesses through our collective endeavors

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