What is SEED?

Powered by Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA company

Venture Café’s SEED is a unique industry immersion program designed for entrepreneurs innovating in the retail industry. This 10-week program is powered by Retail Business Services, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, which supports top grocery store brands like Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Food Lion, and others. Over the course of the program, you will be able to improve your business skills, raise  your retail industry IQ, and build critical relationships in the ecosystem.

Program Schedule

March 16, 2021 – Applications Open

May 31, 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 – Supply Chain Innovation Conference

What You’ll Learn

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

• One-on-one coaching

• Demo during Venture Café’s Supply Chain Innovation conference

• Opportunity to pitch a panel of industry investors

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

Week 1:

Go to Market Strategy 


Week 2:

 Individual Industry Mentorship Session

Week 3:

Marketing and Branding

Week 4:

One-on-one check-in

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

Why Participate


Build your business acumen with targeted workshops.



Connect with business executives, industry experts, and investors.


Launch solutions targeting the retail industry faster.


Watch Our SEED Program 2020 RECAP

Application Process and Requirements


Apply online by May 31

Application review and interviews June 1- 30

Announcement of finalists July 1



During the 10-week engagement, the events we organize will not ask for more than 3-4 hours a week.


Frequently Asked Questions

Click the link below to apply to LAUNCH!

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 is an average weekly time commitment expected?

During the 10-week engagement, the events we organize will not ask for more than 3-4 hours a week. That’s the minimum. But if you make full use of this opportunity, 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 and is optional. 

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 – from how to craft your elevator pitch, to how to scale your products, to how to raise funds, etc. On the Ahold Delhaize’s side, the mentors are again hand-picked based on who the finalists are and what exactly they are trying to do. The mentors bring decades of relevant industry work experience with them.

What business topic areas 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.

Why do you offer this program?

We are a bunch of people passionate about building a better future for our associates and our customers. To build that future, we must innovate. Our dreams are big, our hands are a few. So, we seek collaboration. Through this program, we are reaching out to innovators who share our vision of a better world. We are planting the seeds of innovation in the world of grocery.

What’s included in each workshop?

Each workshop will include curated content for online delivery taught by industry professionals, pre-class prep work, and community building within the cohort. 

How can I get involved if I’m not selected to participate?

Check out our events calendar for other opportunities to get connected with Venture Cafe.