Startup participants meet with mentors to talk products and strategy

Ready for Takeoff: 10 Better-for-You Businesses Learn the Retail Ropes at Target

Guests often come to Target to find innovative products from brands that inspire. So how do we bring them more of what they love? This week, we kicked off our first Target Takeoff—a mini retail boot camp at our Minneapolis headquarters, focused on supporting emerging businesses solving for problems in areas where we hope to grow our business, too.

The theme of our first Target Takeoff? Sustainable products and solutions that help consumers live better and support their communities. On Monday, we welcomed teams from 10 up-and-coming startups focused on creating products that are better-for-you—and in many cases, better for the world.

Meet each of the participating startups at the Target Takeoff page.

A roundup of all 10 startup logos“We know our guests want better-for-you and sustainable options from diverse suppliers, and there are already so many businesses out there solving for those needs,” says Jennifer Silberman, chief sustainability officer, Target. “Target has an opportunity to use our scale and expertise to help some of those brands bring their products to market faster at a national level. Many of these solutions eventually come full-circle and end up in Target’s assortment.”

Six startup participants make food in the Target test kitchenHow’s the program work? All week long, members of each startup are networking, meeting with mentors and getting a crash course in all things retail. On Friday, they’ll pitch their products to a panel of experts at “Bark Tank” (think “Shark Tank” with a Bullseye twist) and get feedback. Then, they’ll take the next few months to apply all they’ve learned, connecting virtually with mentors along the way. And in July, they’ll be back for a Demo Day to show off their results.

Two participants talk with two mentors sitting around a tableAs part of this Target Takeoff, 70 business mentors signed on to share their expertise. Among them are 20+ Target leaders, including John Butcher, senior vice president, merchandising, and Mark Muckerheide, director, corporate social responsibility. Special guests also include leaders of local favorite brands, like Jacquie Berglund, CEO and co-founder of Finnegans, and Lee Wallace, CEO of Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee. Together, the mentors will spend more than 600 hours with participants over the course of the program.

A mentor points at a screen as he talks to a group of participants

Excited to hear how the rest of the program went? Check back in late July for an update on the businesses’ progress.

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