A unique accelerator program designed for entrepreneurs innovating in the retail, supply chain, and food sectors. Created in partnership with Retail Business Services.

The SEED Immersion program is sponsored by Retail Business Services, a division of Ahold Delhaize USA, which supports top grocery store brands like Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Food Lion, and others.

Why Participate
Build your business acumen with targeted workshops.
Connect with business executives, industry experts, and investors.
Launch solutions targeting the retail industry faster.

Accelerate your business and strengthen connections at the same time.

The SEED Immersion program selects 5-7 promising startups each year for a 10-week program that switches between business workshops covering go-to-market strategy, marketing, and funding along with 1 x 1 coaching from the innovation team at Retail Business Services.

Startups improve business skills, raise retail industry IQ, and build critical relationships in the ecosystem.

The program culminates in the Venture Café’s SEED LIVE, where participants pitch a panel of industry investors.

Program Timeline


March 16, 2021 – Applications Open

June 6, 2021 – Applications Close

May 31 – June 30, 2020 – Application Review and Selection

July 1, 2021  – Announcement of Finalists

 July 8, 2021 – Program Starts (mentor matching & bi-weekly coaching)

September 16, 2021 – SEED LIVE

The 10-week Mentorship and Coaching Program Benefits

​• Workshops covering go-to-market strategy, marketing, funding and more designed specifically for 2021 cohort members

• Mentorship matching with experts from Retail Business Services, Peapod Digital Labs, and ADUSA Supply Chain Services

• One-on-one coaching

• Demo during Venture Café’s SEED LIVE

• Opportunity to pitch a panel of industry investors

• Tour of Retail Business Services’ technology hub in the Boston area

Program Schedule


Week 1: Go To Market Strategy

Week 2: Individual Industry Mentorship Session

Week 3: Marketing and Branding

Week 4: Individual Industry Mentorship Session

Week 5: Customer Development and Growth

Week 6: Individual Industry Mentorship Session

Week 7: Funding and Fundraising

Week 8: Individual Industry Mentorship Session

Week 9: Pitching and Storytelling

Week 10: Pitch Feedback Session

Who can apply?
Absolutely anyone who is building something innovative that fits in our world of grocery retail is invited to apply. If you are still in doubt, just apply and leave the rest to us. We have kept the application process simple; it doesn’t bite.
Do I need to be in Boston to participate?
No. You can be anywhere in the world and apply. The program will be delivered virtually. However, we would like the winners to be able to travel to Boston in the near post-covid future.
What topics will be covered?
The short answer is anything that fits in our world of grocery retail business. For a full list of what this means, please visit the application form.
Who will be leading the workshops?
Once the finalists are selected, we sit with them, understand their needs, and finalize the workshops accordingly. Venture Cafe has a vast network of experts who help startups on a wide range of topics. Ahold Delhaize supports with mentor search who are hand-picked based on the finalists needs. The mentors bring decades of relevant industry work experience with them.
What is the average weekly time commitment?
During the 10-week engagement, the programs will require approximately 3-4 hours per week, at minimum. But if you choose to make full use of the program, make all the right connections, and all the right moves, we won’t be surprised if you spend your entire week focused on the program. This of course depends on your appetite.
How can I get involved if I am not selected?
Check out our events calendar other opportunities to get connected with Venture Cafe.
This program is an excellent opportunity for a start-up to grow and learn. The mentors were the best in the business. They offered great advice that I will always apply in my business.
Robert Steward, End2End Solutions