Announcing the new WBENC Industry Accelerator | Kroger Feeding Growth Opportunities for WBES

WBENC and Kroger are bringing WBEs an exciting new Industry Accelerator program this fall taking place from August 3rd through October 5th.

The WBENC Industry Accelerator | Kroger Feeding Growth Opportunities is an 8-week cohort-style accelerator program featuring education, mentoring, pitching opportunities and more. All applicants must be WBENC-Certified and currently registered as a supplier in Kroger’s Supplier Hub vendor system at the time of submission.

The Accelerator Application is now closed.

Read more about the 2023 Industry Accelerator and the Pitch winners here! 

Register in the Kroger Supplier Hub



2023 Recap and Pitch Winners

In a showcase of entrepreneurial talent and innovative products, the Kroger Industry Accelerator Program concluded the program with a dynamic pitch competition of all WBEs selected for the program. Two standout winners — Aunt Ethel’s Pot Pies and Plucky Pickle Dip were awarded with prizes. The event, held in collaboration with WBENC, highlighted the commitment of Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery chains, to supplier diversity and empowerment of Women Owned businesses.

Meet the 2023 Winners!

$10,000 Pitch Winner: Sasha Millstein of Aunt Ethel’s Pot Pies

Sasha Millstein of Aunt Ethel’s Pot Pies emerged as the $10,000 pitch winner, showcasing her delectable pot pies that won over both judges and audiences alike. This victory recognizes her culinary expertise and exemplifies the potential for small businesses to thrive in the competitive retail landscape.


Kroger Pilot Contract Winner: Sara Doherty’s Plucky Pickle Dip

Sara Doherty’s Plucky Pickle Dip secured the Kroger Pilot Contract, a testament to the dip’s exceptional taste and potential to resonate with a broader consumer base. This win grants Plucky Pickle Dip a unique opportunity to reach a wider audience through Kroger’s extensive network of stores.

Read more about the 2023 Industry Accelerator here. 

Kickoff Session Recording
Title Sponsors

Through this dynamic new Industry Accelerator, brought to you by Kroger, WBE apoplicants accepted into the cohort will participate in a dedicated accelerator program with 3 additional education sessions focused on:

  • Pitching your business
  • Presenting to a category manager
  • Ins and outs of marketing, hearing from Kroger’s in-house marketing group

The accelerator will culminate with a LIVE virtual pitch competition on October 5, 2023, from 12:00-2:00 PM EST featuring all cohort participants with one WBE receiving $10,000 in funding.

Additionally, accelerator pitch participants will have their company capabilities reviewed by Kroger supplier diversity professionals and buyers for consideration to pilot a contract with Kroger (This opportunity is based upon specific criteria, vendor capabilities, and Kroger sourcing needs, and does not guarantee a contract will be awarded).

Accelerator Program Schedule
Program Component Date & Time Title
Education Session #1 COMPLETE! 8/3 12-2pm EST How to do Business with Kroger (Accelerator Kickoff & Information Session)
Applications Open 8/4
Application Close 8/18
Education Session #2 9/7 12-2pm EST WBENCPitch Academy Pitch Training 101
Education Session #3 9/14 12-2pm EST How to Present to a Kroger Category Manager
Education Session #4 9/21 12-2pm EST How to Market your Business
Accelerator Pitch Competition Cohort Dry Run 9/28 12-1pm EST The accelerator Pitch Competition dry run / prep session is mandatory for all cohort participants.
Live-Virtual Accelerator Pitch Competition 10/5 12-2pm EST WBENC Industry Accelerator Kroger Pitch Competition
Kroger Supplier Business Categories

Drug (over the counter) / General Merchandise (non-food related items)


Information Technology – Hardware
Information Technology – Software
Professional Services – Consulting
Professional Services – HR
Professional Services – Legal
Professional Services – Marketing

Learn more about the Industry Accelerator | Kroger Feeding Growth Opportunities for WBEs
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