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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants

Finalist in Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign


DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants works to improve access to technical assistance and restaurant education to help small businesses adapt, grow, and thrive through the Accelerator curriculum, which is open to all restaurant owners at no cost; and local Accelerator cohorts, where restaurateurs are guided through the specialized Accelerator curriculum in partnership with local experts; receive a $10,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching, free eco-friendly packaging, and the opportunity to connect with other local restaurant owners. 


Created in partnership with Accion Opportunity Fund, the Accelerator for Local Restaurants is a key part of DoorDash’s broader commitment to support local businesses, especially those owned by women, immigrants, and people of color. For the 2023 summer cohort, DoorDash partnered with the Accion Opportunity Fund, The Five Chamber Alliance, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and DeliverZero to bring the Accelerator for Local Restaurants to New Jersey and New York.


The DoorDash Accelerator for Local Restaurants online curriculum is open to all restaurant owners at no cost. Business owners and operators can complete the courses at their own pace. Content and topics are designed to address some of the core challenges faced by business owners when growing and their business.

Strategy and Execution

DoorDash is committed to helping local restaurants and communities grow both on and off of the platform. DoorDash believes that our communities thrive when we create equal access to opportunity for small business owners. Through the Accelerator for Local Restaurants, DoorDash is working to improve access to technical assistance and restaurant education that will help small businesses adapt, grow, and thrive.


DoorDash and Accion Opportunity Fund, along with other restaurant industry experts, constructed an immersive curriculum designed to help restaurateurs grow their businesses, covering topics such as marketing, access to capital, managing cash flow, and menu creation.


DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants comes to specific cities every year. Cohorts run for approximately 8 weeks. Restaurant owners in the chosen cities were able to apply to participate in the local accelerator cohort,  gaining access to a suite of diverse resources and support, including: 


8-week curriculum covering topics like marketing, branding, access to capital, hiring, legal support, and menu creation; Opportunity for one-on-one, customized business advising with expert business coaches from Accion Opportunity Fund, direct access to industry experts and leaders from local organizations; $10,000 grant; Free merchandising and marketing benefits from DoorDash; Opportunities to network in-person with other local business owners and experts in your locality; Sustainable business practice education and resources; and Up to 6 months of returnable, reusable take-out food containers through DeliverZero. Shifting to reusable packaging can help restaurants reduce operating expenses, improve the quality and experience of their food transport, and reduce packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Accelerator participants are able to access reusable solutions that help grow their businesses in sustainable ways.


Since the Accelerator was announced in early 2021, more than 1,000 businesses have completed the online content, and more than 150 restaurateurs from 8 cities have completed the Accelerator through local cohorts in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Portland guided by some of the industry’s most recognized entrepreneurs and chefs. The vast majority of participants from previous cohorts were people of color, women, immigrants, and refugees.


Small businesses and restaurants are essential to our local communities, but many of the entrepreneurs who operate these community anchors lack access to the capital and resources necessary to scale and grow their businesses. The Accelerator for Local Restaurants program is an effective way to provide business education and support to entrepreneurs of all backgrounds as we work toward creating a more inclusive and sustainable business ecosystem for all.


We hear the long term impact the program has had on previous Accelerator participants. The goal of the Accelerator program is to help local entrepreneurs not only learn hard skills necessary for adapting to the challenges of the moment, but to create very unique tailored business plans to apply to their restaurants for the future that will continue to serve them.  The Accelerator for Local Restaurants is improving access to technical assistance and restaurant education that will help small businesses adapt, grow, and thrive.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

DoorDash, DoorDash


Entry Credits