Last month, DoorDash announced the Main Street Strong Accelerator, developed in close collaboration with Accion Opportunity Fund. We were overwhelmed by the excitement and interest in participation from the restaurant community, and today, we are proud to announce the selection of 100 restaurateurs from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta to participate in our inaugural Main Street Strong Accelerator.
The Accelerator participants represent a diverse cohort of restaurateurs and business owners. Overall, 61% of Main Street Strong Accelerator participants are women; 47% of participants identify as immigrant or refugee; 38% identify as Black or African American; 15% identify as Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic; 12% identify as East Asian; and almost 9% identify as South Asian.
The 20 New York City-based restaurants participating in the program’s inaugural year include:
The 25 Los Angeles-based restaurants participating in the program’s inaugural year include:
The 26 Chicago-based restaurants participating in the program’s inaugural year include:
The 15 Philadelphia-based restaurateurs participating in the program’s inaugural year include:
The 14 Atlanta-based restaurateurs participating in the program’s inaugural year include:
These restaurateurs are leaders and an integral part of their communities with clear visions for their businesses. The cohort represents a variety of business models, from long-time family-owned restaurants to dessert trucks to catering companies. While cuisines may vary, all of the participants demonstrate a commitment to growing their business and giving back to their local community. Finally, these businesses play pivotal roles in their local economies and employ an average of nine people, representing nearly 1,000 jobs in total.
“I am truly excited to be a part of the DoorDash Accelerator program in the coming weeks. There’s not a concrete playbook for running your own restaurant and I am confident that this opportunity will provide additional education and resources to help set my restaurant up for long-term success. This investment of time will allow me to make an immediate impact on my business, my employees, and the community I serve,” — Terri Evans, owner of Windy City Ribs & Whiskey in Chicago, a Main Street Strong Accelerator participant.
“Community is core to banh oui. and we are proud to have provided hundreds of meals to farmers each weekend during the pandemic. We’re incredibly grateful to have our efforts recognized by DoorDash after a tough year. As banh oui. continues to grow, assistance in revamping our business plan and connecting with like minded individuals will be invaluable to reaching our future goals,” — Casey Felton, owner of banh oui. in Los Angeles, a Main Street Strong Accelerator participant.
Accion Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business support organization and lender (through its lending arm, Opportunity Fund), is sharing its expertise to build and manage the programming and grant funding to meet the needs of restaurant owners most impacted by the pandemic. Nearly 90% of the nonprofit’s small business clients are women, immigrants, and/or people of color.
The Accelerator’s 8-week programming will kick off with virtual instruction and discussion courses on April 5. Topics include:
Throughout the program, participants will have the opportunity to apply what they are learning to strengthen their current business plans as they navigate the evolving business landscape under COVID. They will also receive $20,000 that can be used towards any business initiative such as building outdoor dining areas, bill payment and more.
Small businesses power our local economies. They create jobs, uplift our neighborhoods, and serve as the heart of local communities. We are excited to welcome these restaurants to the inaugural Main Street Strong Accelerator.