Part of the platform, called Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow), is the IMPACTO Hispanic Business Accelerator, a $10 million project designed to help 500 Hispanic small food and beverage business owners over the next five years. One of the first 150 $10,000 grant recipients is Maravilla Cacao, a Dallas-based chocolatier.
Acenette “Ace” González, owner of Maravilla Cacao, brings years of experience and a culinary arts degree to her work, but more importantly she brings her dream of owning a chocolate business that incorporates her Mexican culture. After canceling pop-up shows and closing for several months during the pandemic, she started applying for grants.
“When the pandemic hit, me and my partner didn’t know how to pivot in a way with it,” González says. “With COVID hitting us it really gave us a struggle with financials, so I started looking up grants and I was lucky enough to find PepsiCo Foundation’s IMPACTO grant and started applying to things like that.”
“Our next big step is mass production,” said González. “It’s going to allow us to sell more and get into markets that we haven’t been able to.”
Maravilla Cacao will open to orders in late September with a whole new line of flavors for her confections, thanks to PepsiCo.
“The contributions of Hispanic communities are an integral part of the fabric of American culture. Unfortunately, the community has also long faced systemic barriers to success – a divide only deepened by the impact of COVID-19,” said C.D. Glin, Vice President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Philanthropy for PepsiCo. “Supporting long-term solutions that drive economic equity in the Hispanic community isn’t just right – it’s imperative.”
The Juntos Crecemos program also provides a Hispanic Digital and Delivery Program, an eight-week business-focused consultation program, as well as supplies to bodegas and carnicerias. Businesses interested in learning more about these programs should visit Junto Crecemos.