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Target Partners With Techstars To Launch A Startup Accelerator Program

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Target may be a big-box store, but now the company is thinking small.

That's because Target recently partnered with Techstars to launch the startup accelerator's "first retail-focused accelerator," the program's head West Stringfellow told TechCrunch. Techstars previously launched programs with Disney, Barclays and Sprint. Techstars' program with Target will select 10 startups to work out of the Target offices for three months next summer and receive mentoring from Target executives, local entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as funding for their companies.

As a major retailer, the focus of the program is of course on retail, but Stringfellow told TechCrunch that any company that thinks Target could add value to their business or vice versa should apply, which can be done online through F6S.

The fact that Target's corporate headquarters are in Minneapolis plays a big role in this accelerator program as well. The number of tech startups in Minnesota, which is known locally as "Silicon Prairie," has doubled in the past five years to more than 500, CNET reported last month. Though applicants to the program can be based anywhere, one of the goals of the initiative is to build up the startup community in Minneapolis, Stringfellow told TechCrunch.

Target is also getting something out of this program. As Fortune pointed out last month, by partnering with Techstars, Target could rev up the speed of its innovation, especially as it faces competition from other retailers integrating physical retail with e-commerce. That's something that's certainly not going to slow down anytime soon.

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