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Jefa Owned

Latina business owners rule

By Rafael Romero

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SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman recently noted that “more than five million Latino-owned small businesses create jobs, deliver over $800 billion to our economy every year, and add to our nation’s global competitiveness—and they could do even more if we invested in them equitably.”


PepsiCo took notice of this and launched Juntos Crecemos, a platform that provides access to business-building resources, marketing, and mentorship to help small business owners. The program supports the post-Covid economic recovery of participating businesses and helps set them on the path to success. Since Latinos start a whopping 82% of all new businesses in this country, it benefits all Americans and helps propel the US economy upward.

Esperanza Teasdale, Vice President & General Manager, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America, stated, "Through the PepsiCo Juntos Crecemos platform, we’ve witnessed the power of collaboration to create meaningful impact across our people, business partnerships and organizations that support Hispanic communities con cariño, which means with care. Together, we’re shaping a future where everyone can thrive, united by a shared vision of inclusive growth." 

Jefa-Owned is a national campaign, launched in 2022,  under the Juntos Crecemos platform that puts the spotlight on Latina-owned small businesses. Their success was celebrated last year on National Jefa Day, March 31, 2023, with PepsiCo covering the tab for the first 200 customers per location who dined at participating Jefa-Owned restaurants and bodegas in select cities nationwide. 

One of these Jefa-Owned businesses that benefited from this campaign is Qusqo Bistro and Gallery in Los Angeles. It was launched by Lucy Haro, whose grandmother had a tiendita in Peru, where she would sell to-go meals for everyone in her neighborhood. Lucy noticed that cooking had a special power to unite people, drawing them together in shared enjoyment. Motivated by that, she decided to carry forward the traditions of her culinary heritage. “I take great pride in bringing together my community to experience the art of Peruvian cuisine, passed down through generations of women in my family,” Lucy told LATINO Magazine. 

The pandemic was one of the hardest times for her business. Lucy had limited access to funding but set out to find programs to support Hispanic-owned businesses. She found the PepsiCo Foundation’s Impacto Business Accelerator program, which awarded her a $10,000 grant as well as mentoring and business coaching, allowing her to continue operations. Thanks to Juntos Crecemos, Lucy also connected with a community of Latina restaurant owners in the Los Angeles area. Together, they've established a supportive network for all business-related needs, whether it's sourcing specific ingredients or seeking assistance in various business areas.

When the Super Bowl came to Phoenix last year, PepsiCo provided a total of $50,000 through Juntos Crecemos to help five Latino-owned businesses make the most of it. Imelda Hartley’s company, Imelda Happy Tamales, was one of them, and she received a $10,000 check. 

Taste of the NFL, presented by Frito-Lay and The PepsiCo Foundation, took place on Super Bowl weekend with a blend of culinary delights and entertainment. The proceeds benefited GENYOUth’s efforts to combat youth hunger and food insecurity. Imelda turned her Mexican-American family tradition of rolling tamales into success and made upwards of 2,500 sample-sized tamales for the epic event.

 “The name Imelda Happy Tamales was born from hope after I left an abusive relationship,” Imelda explained, “and it allowed me to provide for my children. Juntos Crecemos not only helped empower me as a woman, but it also helped me go from selling tamales to individuals to now catering my tamales for corporations with a plan for a food truck as well!”

Claudia Berroa’s website greets visitors with, “We are the first restaurant in the area to receive a Michelin Bib Gourmand! If you are near Van Cortlandt Park and want to eat at the best restaurante Peruano in the area, come by Claudy's Kitchen!” 

Michelin certainly meets the Bronx at Claudy’s Kitchen, which was a part of PepsiCo Juntos Crecemos inaugural Jefa-Owned campaign. "With the $10,000 Impacto Business Accelerator grant we received, we were able to buy equipment that allowed us to increase our empanadas production. Since we opened right into the pandemic, it helped us to continue growing the business despite the pandemic!" added Claudia, who goes by Claudy. 

She first launched her business by selling the same flan that her grandmother used to make in Peru, saying, “This is the flan for people who don’t eat flan.”  She and her husband Richard sold it to stores across New York City, and it quickly spread by word of mouth.

Alongside PepsiCo executives and other Latina business owners, in 2022, Claudy attended the Nasdaq Opening Bell Ceremony and unveiled the first-ever Jefa-Owned neon sign. Claudy shared that “it filled me with pride to see myself and the other Jefas' photos featured on the Nasdaq Tower and Nasdaq Marquee of Times Square.” PepsiCo also honored them with an exclusive Jefa-Owned neon sign to proudly display at their businesses. 

In partnership with LATINO Magazine, Claudy was just recognized by PepsiCo at the first annual 2024 PRIMERA Awards, celebrating Latina excellence at the elegant Harvard Club of NYC.  "I'm so excited and proud to receive one of this year's PRIMERA Awards!" she said.

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