The program is part of PepsiCo’s $400 million commitment to supporting Black communities
The National Urban League (NUL) and the PepsiCo Foundation have announced the first group of Black-owned restaurants selected to receive a portion of $10 million through a joint grant program called the Black Restaurant Accelerator Program.
The program is part of PepsiCo’s commitment of over $400 million towards supporting Black communities, announced by CEO Ramon Laguarta in June 2020 as the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and others sparked nationwide protests and attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
NUL first announced the collaborative effort in an October 2020 press release explaining that the program’s purpose is to “provide current and aspiring Black restaurateurs with access to capital, training, mentorship and other support services that are necessary for business success.”
DES PLAINES, IL – JUNE 13: Pepsi labels are seen on plastic bottles of the soft drink displayed on a store shelf June 13, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Doctors at the annual American Medical Association meeting in Chicago this week have called for a “fat tax” on sugary soft drinks to help fight obesity in the U.S. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
PepsiCo announced the first group of grantees earlier in July, comprised of eight restaurants from states including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Ohio, Maryland and the Washington D.C. area.
“Black businesses and consumers are among the key contributors to the economic strength of our nation, and they deserve equal recognition and support for the vital role they play in our communities,” NUL President & CEO Marc H. Morial said in the press release. “We are proud to partner with The PepsiCo Foundation on a matter of crucial importance that helps business owners and addresses one of the critical economic disparities impacting Black communities.”
Those disparities have only widened during the COVID-19 pandemic, per a May 2020 Stanford University study on the pandemic’s impact on small business owners. Data revealed that 41% of Black-owned businesses have permanently or indefinitely closed since February 2020 compared to only 17% of white-owned businesses.
C.D. Glin, vice president and global head of philanthropy at The PepsiCo Foundation said the pandemic “exposed existing disparities” faced by Black business owners, and that the grant is not only intended to help them recover from pandemic-related impacts but to create opportunities for them to “build generational wealth.”
Victoria Tyson, owner of Victoria’s Kitchen in Philadelphia is one of the eight selected grantees. She told Forbes she has already put her $10,000 grant to work after reopening doors in early July for the first time since the pandemic hit the United States.
“This program and grant even out the playing ground for Black business owners,” she said. “It also means me and people like me are given a fighting chance.”
“Black people are hustlers,” she added via email. “We can make a dollar out of fifteen cents, LoL, but when it comes to the necessary business skills that will allow us to be bankable and competitive we lack those skills. We just haven’t been taught them. But!!! The Black Restaurant Accelerator Program will help to change that dynamic.”
Restaurants, caterers and mobile food services are only eligible to apply for the grant if they are “at least 51% Black-owned, operated, and controlled,” and are “located in in the service area of a National Urban League Entrepreneurship Center” in select U.S. cities, per the program website.
The full list of recipients is available below:
Victoria’s Kitchen & Catering Soul Food Restaurant in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaTakoma Station Tavern and Wingery in Washington, D.C.,Beaucoup Eats, Taste & See and Addis NOLA in New Orleans, Louisiana,Odom’s Kitchen Catering in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,Local Green Atlanta and Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, Georgia,Taste-T-Love Baby Food, Rich Taste Catering Service and De’Lish LLC in Dayton, Ohio,Southern Grace Cincy Catering LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio, andChef’s of the Streets in Laurel, Maryland
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