Dessert startup Dr. Brownies selected for Target Forward Founders retail accelerator

The Target accelerator program provides resources and mentorship to help food and drink businesses grow.

Dessert startup Dr. Brownies selected for Target Forward Founders retail accelerator

Dr. Brownies is a vegan dessert company that's among the 30 businesses in Target Forward Founders' fourth cohort. This accelerator program, run by the Fortune 100 retailer, targets historically under-resourced entrepreneurs.

Toni Lorraine Johnson, founder of Dr. Brownies, said that she was drawn to Target's retail readiness program because it focused on underserved areas. Johnson told PHL Inno earlier this year that retail is a growing focus for Dr. Brownies and Johnson. She projects wholesale to grow from 20% of business today to 40% in 2023 and then to 65% in 2024. Currently, wholesale represents about 20% of the business. Another 20% comes from retail. Dr. Brownies catering currently accounts for 60% of the remaining 60%.

Johnson wants to expand her wholesale and retail operation in Bucks County.

Johnson founded Dr. Brownies around Philadelphia in 2020 and launched the product in 2021. Dr. Brownies is a vegan brownies, cookies and refrigerated brownie batters. She compares them to Toll House Cookies.

Johnson hopes that the accelerator will help her 'build an ecosystem where Dr. Brownies can thrive'.

Target Forward Founders is a 10-week program that launched on Tuesday and offers education, tools, and connections to help business scale.

Johnson refused to say if the accelerator included an investment opportunity or a pitching opportunity.

Johnson said earlier in the year that she aimed to raise $500,000 for her business. She says this figure has doubled, and is now $1 million. She is still deciding how she will raise the money - through venture capital, grants, crowdfunding or any other means.