DoorDash Main Street Strong Accelerator Program for Restaurant Owners
As small businesses, including numerous independent restaurants, continue to struggle several larger companies have stepped up to offer support in the form of grants, programs, and other endeavors. Now, popular food delivery app DoorDash is joining such efforts, announcing the launch of the Main Street Strong Accelerator.
Created in partnership with nonprofit small business lender Accion Opportunity Fund, the program aims to create equitable access to opportunities in the restaurant industry — especially amid the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted businesses that are women, immigrant, or BIPOC-owned. Thus, the accelerator will include programming to assist business owners in adapting to the “new normal,” setting them up for future success. Additionally, DoorDash will give away $2 million in grants as part of the program, with each participant receive two payments of $10,000. The payments will bookend the program, with the first arriving at the start of the program and the second coming upon completion.
Small business restaurateurs in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Atlanta can now apply for the program, with 100 of them being selected to participate in the inaugural accelerator class. Eligible applicants don’t need to be DoorDash or Caviar partners but must operate three or fewer restaurant locations, been in business for two or more years, and employ 50 or fewer people across all of their locations. Programming will be virtual, with sessions taking around three hours a week between April 5th and May 28th. Applications must be in by Tuesday, March 2nd at 5 p.m. Pacific with those restaurateurs selected to participate then being notified on March 19th.
Speaking to the goals DoorDash has for the Main Street Strong Accelerator, the company’s CEO and co-founder Tony Xu said, “The social and financial inequities that many businesses experienced before the pandemic have only been amplified by the current global pandemic and economic crisis. 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.”
Similarly, Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia stated, “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.” Urrutia continued, “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.”
The Main Street Strong Accelerator is just one of several recent efforts to not only help small business owners get back on their feet but to also allow them to thrive as we look toward better days. While all of these programs have their own focus, it’s great to see DoorDash taking a special interest in restaurateurs who have been hit particularly hard over the past year. With the effects of the pandemic likely to linger long after things return to “normal,” hopefully this accelerator does become an annual event that expands to assist as many restaurant owners as possible. For more information and to apply for this inaugural DoorDash Main Street Strong Accelerator, be sure to visit the program’s site.