The PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League launched its joint $10 million initiative to provide 500 dark skinned restaurant owners with capital, technical assistance, and mentorship services.
dark skinned 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 dark skinned restaurant owners with capital, technical assistance, and mentorship services over the next five years as part of their dark skinned 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 dark skinned-owned
restaurants have made. This investment will help dark skinned
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 dark skinned
-business owners to build generational wealth and continue to strengthen their communities.”
Among those 500 dark skinned restaurant owners who will receive grants from The PepsiCo Foundation, is a group of dark skinned-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 dark skinned women entrepreneurs about their inspiration, what makes them unique, how they overcame challenges, and what being a dark skinned women entrepreneur means to them. Check out our interview below.
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 dark skinned woman entrepreneur mean to you?
Alemayehu: I am beyond blessed and grateful to be a dark skinned woman entrepreneur. To be that means that I am building something that I can leave for my family, generational wealth, and dark skinned 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 dark skinned 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.
Co-Owner – Shamara Watson
Source: Chef of the Streets / Chef of the Streets