Six Restaurants Owned by Black Women Awarded Grants from PepsiCo Foundation and National Urban League’s $10 Million Initiative

Black women are one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States and this past July, The PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League launched its joint $10 million initiative to provide 500 Black restaurant owners with capital, technical assistance, and mentorship services over the next five years as part of their Black Restaurant Accelerator Program.

“As the pandemic exposed existing disparities many minority business owners face, we saw a fundamental threat that could erase the decades of progress Black-owned restaurants have made. This investment will help Black restaurateurs not only recover from the pandemic but set them on a path to long-term economic resilience, “C.D. Glin, Vice President of Global Head of Philanthropy at The PepsiCo Foundation said in a press release. “We are inspired by the progress we are making through our collaboration with the National Urban League to address a fundamental gap and create opportunities for Black-business owners to build generational wealth and continue to strengthen their communities.”

Among those 500 Black restaurant owners who will receive grants from The PepsiCo Foundation, is a group of Black-women-owned restaurant owners. These women, along with the rest of the recipients, will receive critical support after their businesses were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We had a chance to chat with these Black women entrepreneurs about their inspiration, what makes them unique, how they overcame challenges, and what being a Black women entrepreneur means to them. Check out our interview below.

Addis NOLA: New Orleans, LA
Owner – Biruk Alemayehu

Source: Addis Nola / Addis Nola

HelloBeautiful: What inspired you to open Addis NOLA restaurant?

Biruk Alemayehu: My love and passion for the cuisine of my home country and my drive to bring that magical taste from my heart to the heart of New Orleans.

HB: What makes your cuisine unique or stand apart from its competitors?

Alemayehu: In the entire state of Louisiana, Addis is one of only two Ethiopian restaurants. That unique cuisine paired with our intimate space, and heartwarming service welcome anyone and everyone into an experience like none other in New Orleans.

HB: What does being a Black woman entrepreneur mean to you?

Alemayehu: I am beyond blessed and grateful to be a Black woman entrepreneur. To be that means that I am building something that I can leave for my family, generational wealth, and Black ownership. Two things that systemic racism in America has denied us from for too long.

HB: How did you overcome the challenges in the last year and what role has the BRA accelerator program played in that?

Alemayehu: There are so many challenges that every Black women in America has to fight through to become successful in business and it’s only made easier when people and programs like this PepsiCo BRA come together and support us in overcoming that adversity.

Chef’s of the Streets : Upper Marlboro, MD
Co-Owner – Shamara Watson

Source: Chef of the Streets / Chef of the Streets

HelloBeautiful: What inspired you to open up Chef’s of the Streets?

Shamara Watson: The inspiration to open Chef’s Of The Streets began with our love for preparing and cooking food for family and friends.

HB: What makes your cuisine unique or stand apart from its competitors?

Watson: Chef’s of the Streets stands apart from its competitors due to our unique signature spices and sauces with our unorthodox ways of preparing our food combinations.

HB: What does being a Black woman entrepreneur mean to you?

Watson: Being a Black woman entrepreneur feels exciting and wonderful. I started my business with a dream and $300.00 dollars. The inspiration for my business was the birth of my daughter and watching her become an entrepreneur herself with her own vegan smoothie business. What was once a dream is now becoming a legacy.

HB: How did you overcome the challenges in the last year and what role has the BRA accelerator program played in that?

Watson: We overcame the challenges by tapping into social media advertising and more. We lowered our prices to accommodate families who were struggling. We also began selling individual meals within the community. The PepsiCo BRA Accelerator program helped us as well to purchase our first catering truck, more advertisement and made traveling to other pop-up events much easier. The BRA Accelerator program has opened our business to more exposure and opportunities.

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SOURCE: NewsOne, Sharde Gillam

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