Hispanic restaurants and bodegas receive targeted COVID-19 assistance

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

Food and beverage giant PepsiCo is investing $ 50 million in small Hispanic restaurants, bodegas and butchers across the United States in a program called “Juntos Crecemos” or “Together We Rise,” which is part of a larger PepsiCo race equity initiative.

Berroa and her husband said the grant was especially helpful given they missed government sponsored aid like the Paycheck Protection Program to help businesses like theirs.

“I know in particular that for PPP our bank was prioritizing larger loans,” Rich Berroa told CBS News correspondent Elise Preston.

Minority-owned businesses have suffered loss of customers due to the pandemic and many were excluded from government funded programs put in place to help them get back on their feet.

According to a Stanford University study, 86% of Hispanic small business owners have closed or reported experiencing significant negative impacts from the pandemic.

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. She has already invested in a machine to help speed up production of their popular empanadas.

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

“Providing these resources is critical to achieving our ambition to drive long-term change and overcome systemic barriers in communities that have too often been overlooked,” said Antonio Escalona, ​​senior vice president and general manager of the PepsiCo Foods North America’s Hispanic business unit.

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