MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Shouldering both pandemic troubles and a systemic lack of access to capital, hundreds of Hispanic-owned businesses across the country and in South Florida are getting a much-needed boost from the PepsiCo Foundation.

Opening the doors to her Peruvian restaurant, Claudy’s Kitchen, was a lifelong dream for Claudia Berroa.

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“I came from a poor family, but now, I think, having the restaurant shares my family recipes,” she said.

But sharing those dishes hasn’t been easy. The family’s New York City restaurant opened during the pandemic last summer.

“The week that we opened two restaurants closed on this block, so we were super scared,” said Rich Berroa.

A 2020 Stanford University report found 86% of Latino-owned businesses experienced immediate, negative effects of the pandemic, and they were disproportionately less likely to receive government help, like PPP loans.

“I know particularly for the PPP, our bank was putting priority to bigger loans,” Rich said.

Claudy’s Kitchen got help from the PepsiCo Foundation, which is investing 50 million dollars into Hispanic-owned restaurants, bodegas, and butcher shops through its program “Juntos Crecemos” (together we grow).

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“These are places where mothers and fathers earn their living but also raise their children, and so those legacies are lost when we do lose Hispanic businesses,” said C.D. Glin, vice president of the PepsiCo Foundation.

Some of the money will also go toward business development, like building websites and delivery apps.

“A lot of Hispanic and Black businesses may not be represented on those platforms,” Glin said.

Claudy’s Kitchen bought a machine to speed up production of their award-winning empanadas.

The program will continue to award grants and provide business support over the next five years.

To be eligible, Hispanic-owned businesses must be less than three years old and bring in less than a million dollars in revenue.

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CBSMiami.com Team