Food News

PepsiCo Program, Juntos Crecemos, Provides Funding for Local Hispanic Chocolatier

Maravilla Cacao will purchase equipment with the grant funds to allow them to expand their business.
Maravilla Cacao will purchase equipment with the grant funds to allow them to expand their business. Ace González
Many businesses have suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Hispanic businesses in particular have taken a hit. According to a Stanford University study, 86% of Hispanic small business owners reported significant impacts and were half as likely as their white counterparts to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. To combat this, PepsiCo launched a $50 million platform recently to support Hispanic-owned businesses.

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.”
click to enlarge Maravilla Cacao chocolates - ACE GONZÁLEZ
Maravilla Cacao chocolates
Ace González
González says she will use the grant money to buy a chocolate machine in order to produce more wholesale products since she is the only chocolatier at her business. She’ll also use the funds to buy packaging and other supplies.

“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
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Alyssa High is a food intern for the Dallas Observer working toward her master's degree at UNT. Alyssa writes about fun restaurants and good eats. She also has attempted to go vegan three times and failed.
Contact: Alyssa High