Shipt Debuts Small Business Accelerator Program in 5 Cities

Shipt will reinforce its commitment to expanding food access and supporting local businesses with LadderUp, an accelerator program that will launch in five cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Washington and Birmingham, Ala. LadderUp will focus on businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people and people of color, with the goal of having at least 50% of program participants falling into these categories.

Through March 6, small businesses in the grocery/beverage, health, beauty and floral/gifts verticals can apply for the program. If selected, business owners will get an eight-week course taught by retail industry leaders that covers:

  • Driving sustainable growth;
  • Building a financial foundation;
  • Enhancing efficiency;
  • Marketing;
  • Ecommerce 101;
  • Using Shipt; and
  • Basic legal knowledge needed for running a business.

The goal is to provide these retailers with in-depth knowledge that will help them navigate the fast-changing ecommerce landscape. Shipt will provide each participating retailer that completes the program with $5,000 to invest in their ecommerce operations. Shopify is partnering with Shipt to teach a course for the program and provide no-cost access to its platform.

“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,” said Kamau Witherspoon, CEO of Shipt in a statement. “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.”


The LadderUp program grew out of Shipt’s participation in a September 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. At that time, Shipt announced it would add a SNAP EBT payment option in 2023.

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