2021 Target Accelerator Program

2021 Target Accelerator Program is inviting applications from tech-driven startups focused to eliminate bottlenecks in the retail industry.


An accelerator programme to a startup is what a rocket is to a satellite, to push it into orbit. Startup accelerators uplift the startup by playing a key role in equipping the startups with funding, mentoring and resources.

Though several startups in the pandemic were on the brink of closure or shut down, it could not deter the entrepreneurship spirit. The covid crisis has highlighted areas in healthcare, retail, e-commerce and remote workforce that can be solved best with technology and innovation. The increased adoption of digital technology across businesses is proliferating the growth of tech startups and is attracting funds. 

According to a study from Venture Intelligence, Indian startups raised $12.1 billion from venture capitalists and private equity firms in the first six months of 2021, beating 2020s overall funding by $1 billion. To aid more startups to bring their innovative ideas to fruition, US-based retail giant Target is opening the doors of its accelerator programme for Indian startups. 

What is the 2021 Target Accelerator Program?

The Target Accelerator Program aims to discover notable startups and provide them with resources, mentoring and essential tools to develop mass retail knowledge. This programme will benefit the entrepreneurs by allowing them to develop, test, and scale their products and solutions by engaging with Target business leaders. It is a 16-week program commencing from August 2021 till January 2022.

Which Startups Can Apply for the 2021 Target Accelerator Program? 

The startups eligible to apply in this accelerator programme will be from the retail space focussing on tech-driven solutions in various aspects of retail such as returns, sustainability, 3D designing and supply chain optimization to revolutionise the retail sector. 

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According to a study from Venture Intelligence, Indian startups have raised $12.1 billion from venture capitalists and private equity firms in the first six months of 2021, beating 2020s overall funding by $1 billion.

Qualities that Target Accelerator Program is Seeking in Startups 

The Programme is seeking the below elements from the aspirant : 

  • A great idea and passion for retail space and owns a strong team. 
  • Innovative solution built on cutting-edge technology 
  • A viable product with market traction and the potential to scale. 

Application Process for Startups: 2021 Target Accelerator Program 

Startups will apply online and the shortlisted startups will undergo a selection process where they will present their product idea, team, tech capabilities and relevance which should be in alignment with Target’s strategic priorities. Every cohort will consist of 7 to 8 selected startups. 

The 16-week Program Flow 

The final selected startups will undergo a program and post-program process: 

The Program

This stage is the real Bootcamp for startups where they will work with Target mentors and subject matter experts to master the intricacies of business and validate their use cases with real-time data. The startups will get the opportunity to prepare for ample networking, showcasing themselves, learning and tech integrated conversations. 

Post-Program

After the successful completion of the 16-week accelerator program, the startups will be provided with market access and networking opportunities with the global startup ecosystem. A demo day will be organised where industry veterans will be invited to witness how the startup founders pitch their offerings.

How can such programmes help the startups in retail? 

India’s retail space wants to implement cutting-edge technologies to offer a hassle-free shopping experience to shoppers. The innovations brought by the startups will focus on better inventory management, supply chain optimisation to eliminate bottlenecks and create seamless operations in the entire retail chain both from the backend and frontend. The accelerator programmes will birth  more startups to come up with innovative product solutions which will be adopted by Indian retail giants in future, therefore, opening a host of business opportunities for the tech-driven startups in the retail industry.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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