At DoorDash, we know that local restaurants are the backbone of our neighborhoods, bringing well-paying jobs, diverse foods, and community spirit to local communities. In 2020, DoorDash launched the Accelerator for Local Restaurants to increase access to opportunity for restaurant owners, including women, immigrants, and people of color, supporting people to reach their full potential.

In partnership with Accion Opportunity Fund, a financial support system for small businesses that advances racial, gender, and economic justice for all, DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants is designed to support entrepreneurship and provide resources for historically under-resourced business owners. The Accelerator for Local Restaurants provides $20,000 grants, training and education, one-on-one customized business advising, marketing benefits, and more to selected restaurant owners. 

Today, we’re excited to introduce a new cohort of 40 Accelerator for Local Restaurants participants, all based in the greater Portland and Denver areas. The participants represent a diverse cohort of restaurateurs and business owners, the majority of whom are women, immigrants, and people of color. 

In Colorado, we’re welcoming a cohort of 20 local restaurant owners hailing from Denver, Littleton, Longmont, and Aurora. Many of the participants in Denver reflect the city’s rich Latin-American heritage. One Denver-based participant Ivonne Bringas, who owns the Mexican family-style restaurant Las Hijas de la Chilanga, started working years ago as a waitress, said she never thought she’d have the opportunity to own her own restaurant, which she runs alongside her family. “I plan on taking what I learn from the Accelerator program and sharing it with my husband and two daughters, who help manage Las Hijas de la Chilanga alongside me,” she said. “We make a great team, and there’s nothing better than working together with family to take our business to the next level.”

In Oregon, another 20 restaurant owners hailing from Portland and Beaverton will be participating in the Accelerator for Local Restaurants program. This group includes Fatou Ouattara, the owner of Akadipdx, the only west African sit-down restaurant in Portland. She opened Akadi with the goal of having West African cuisine be represented in the Portland food scene. Her favorite meal to cook is a grilled fish with fermented cassava couscous, an Ivory Coast national dish called “attieké poisson braisé.”

To date, over 1,000 businesses have completed the Accelerator’s free online courses, and more than 115 restaurateurs from 6 cities have completed the Accelerator for Local Restaurants through local cohorts in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, guided by some of the industry’s most recognized entrepreneurs and chefs. 87% of restaurant owners participating in the Accelerator For Local Restaurants cohorts have identified as people of color, and 59% have identified as women. 

For these new cohorts, DoorDash is proud to partner with the Black Business Association of Oregon and the Denver chapter of the Hispanic Restaurant Association to bring localized insights and resources to our Accelerator for Local Restaurants participants. Both organizations aim to support historically underserved communities, with the Black Business Association of Oregon working to achieve economic equity for Black businesses and entrepreneurs, and the Hispanic Restaurant Association focusing on elevating the Hispanic community through advocacy and education for Hispanic restaurateurs. 

“For far too long, businesses owned and operated by people of color, particularly Black businesses, have been denied the resources they need to be successful in the United States,” said Lance Randall, Executive Director of the Black Business Association of Oregon. “But when these businesses have equal access and opportunity, they thrive and make significant contributions to our overall economy. We are proud to be a partner with DoorDash in making these invaluable financial and educational resources available to some of the most dynamic businesses owned by people of color in the greater Portland area. This program clearly shows the commitment to bring about equity in the restaurant sector.” 

“We are proud to be a partner with DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants because of the important opportunity to support the Hispanic restaurateur community in Denver,” said Selene Nestor of the Hispanic Restaurant Association. “Our mission is to advocate on behalf of and educate the Hispanic restaurateur to effectively and efficiently open and operate their restaurant, and we are thrilled to help enable this for the Denver cohort.”

“From the impact of the pandemic, to rising costs, these last few years have been particularly challenging for small restaurants,” said Elyssa White, Social Impact Program Manager at DoorDash. “We’re proud to help businesses navigate this uncertain economic environment through the Accelerator’s education and grant funds, and lift up critical establishments within the Portland and Denver communities. These grants will enable businesses to hire more staff, purchase updated equipment, improve marketing efforts, and most importantly, give them the time and space to focus on their craft.”

We’re excited to see what the new cohort of Portland and Denver restaurateurs accomplish with this opportunity. For more information about DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants, visit here