Shipt, a personal shopping and delivery app based in Birmingham, has launched LadderUp, an accelerator program aimed at helping local small businesses, especially ones owned by LGBTQ+ and people of color, grow. LadderUp will provide capital, e-commerce-focused technical assistance and education from industry leaders.
Applications for LadderUp open today and run through March 6. Applications from small businesses in Birmingham; Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Houston, Texas and Washington, DC will be accepted. Small businesses in grocery/beverage, health, beauty and floral/gifts retailers can apply.
“As a growing tech company that is putting food insecurity and equity at the forefront of its work, Shipt is proud to announce the launch of LadderUp,” said Kamau Witherspoon, CEO of Shipt. “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. 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.”
At the completion of the 8-week program, participating companies will receive $5,000 to invest in their e-commerce. In addition, Shopify, an e-commerce company, will teach a course during the program and provide no-cost access to its platform to help retailers build an online storefront, streamline operations and optimize inventory tracking.
“At Shopify, our mission is to make commerce better for everyone,” said Crystal Hunt, senior program manager of partnerships diversity and belonging at Shopify. “To achieve this mission, we must bring more voices to entrepreneurship. Together with Shipt, we are reducing the unique barriers facing underrepresented business owners.”