A $50 million booster shot for Hispanic small businesses

Claudi Berroa, owner of Claudy’s, a Peruvian restaurant that opened in New York during the pandemic, has avoided the same fate as many of her fellow small-business owners. While some of her neighboring businesses have closed their doors for good, Berroa is investing in her restaurant, thanks to a much-needed infusion of capital. 

Food and beverage giant PepsiCo is investing $50 million in small, Hispanic-owned restaurants, bodegas and butcheries across the U.S. through a program called “Juntos Crecemos,” or “Together We Rise,” part of larger racial equity initiative from PepsiCo. 

Berroa and her husband said the grant was especially helpful given that they’d missed out on government-sponsored aid like the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at helping businesses like theirs. 

“I know particularly for the PPP, our bank was putting priority to bigger loans,” Rich Berroa told CBS News correspondent Elise Preston. 

Minority-owned businesses suffered from a loss of patrons over the pandemic and many were shut out of government-funded programs established to help them regain their footing. 

Eighty-six percent of HIspanic small business owners either closed or reported experiencing significant negative impacts from the pandemic, according to a Stanford University study

They were also half as likely as White business owners to receive Paycheck Protection Program funds, according to the survey. 

The PepsiCo grant will help Claudy’s kitchen stay stable. It’s already invested in a machine to help speed up production of their popular empanadas.

The corporate  program, aimed at boosting Hispanic-owned small businesses over the next five years, will also help restaurants like Claudy’s build and improve their online presences and, in the case of restaurants, their delivery logistics. 

“Providing these resources is critical to delivering on our ambition to drive long-term change and address systemic barriers in communities that too often have been overlooked,” said Antonio Escalona, SVP and GM of the Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo Foods North America.