This week, Shipt announced LadderUp, an accelerator program designed to support local small businesses in Atlanta, Birmingham (Ala.), Detroit, Houston, and Washington, D.C., that are looking to develop their e-commerce strategies. With commitments from the recent White Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in mind, this program aims to expand access to food in underserved communities.
Small businesses operating in the grocery, beverage, health, beauty, floral, or gift space within the outlined regions are encouraged to submit an application now through March 6, 2023. If selected for the program, the small business owner(s) will take part in an eight-week course to learn how to create a sustainable e-commerce business, including insight into e-commerce 101, marketing for e-commerce, and basic legal knowledge on the topic, and Shopify will teach a course in the program around building an online storefront and how to optimize inventory tracking. Additionally, the small business will receive $5,000 to invest in developing its e-commerce business.
The LadderUp program will also focus on providing e-commerce support to under-represented groups, and Shipt is aiming to have at least 50% of the program recipients be businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people and people of color.
"Working with small businesses to build up their capabilities is a key part of our commitment to help create healthier, more resilient, and equitable communities," Shipt CEO Kamau Witherspoon said. "We recognize the unique role that we can play in both combating hunger in under-resourced communities and boosting small, local retailers that are so vital to communities across our country."
Previously, in 2022, Shipt awarded nearly $250,000 in microgrants to organizations that "focused on food insecurity, economic disparities and youth workforce development."