Putting the spotlight on Hispanic women-owned SMMEs on National Jefa (boss) Day

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pepsico Juntos Crecemos participant and proud owner of Los Angeles-based Cuernavaca’s Grill, Nayomie Mendoza. Pic: PepsiCo
Pepsico Juntos Crecemos participant and proud owner of Los Angeles-based Cuernavaca’s Grill, Nayomie Mendoza. Pic: PepsiCo

Related tags: Pepsico, women empowerment, Hispanic and latino americans, startups, coronavirus, Hija du tu Madre

To mark National Jefa Day (31 March), PepsiCo has sent a call out to Latina-owned small businesses in the F&B sector to apply for the personalised business building support services under its Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow) platform.

The Purchase-based snack giant is also putting a literal spotlight on small Latina-owned businesses with the rollout of a bold neon sign that proudly declares its Jefa-Owned status.

PepsiCo unveiled the sign at a Nasdaq Opening Bell Ceremony, along with limited edition merchandise designed in collaboration with Hija de tu Madre, a lifestyle brand founded by Latina entrepreneur Patty Delgado.

Limited edition Jefa-Owned merchandise, including T-shirts, tote bags and notepads, is available for purchase at Hija de tu Madre's online store, beginning on National Jefa Day.

As part of its Racial Equality Journey Hispanic Initiative, PepsiCo launched the multi-faceted Juntos Crecemos platform​ last year, aimed at helping Hispanic-owned businesses address foundational challenges.

According to the 2020 State of Latinos Entrepreneurship Report, Latinas (women) represent 40% of all Latino-owned businesses (men and women), with 41% of Latina business owners reporting ‘large negative impacts’ as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, twice as many Latina-led companies experience closure compared to Latino-led (male only) businesses.

“Latinas are a powerful economic force in the US, creating businesses at a rate six times the national average,”​ said Esperanza Teasdale, VP and GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America.

“Despite this accelerated growth rate, Latinas are confronting foundational challenges that must be addressed.

“This Women's History Month, PepsiCo is proud to grow the impact of the Juntos Crecemos platform with a focus on helping Latina business owners strengthen their businesses while raising visibility for them through the Jefa-Owned campaign.

“Having each Latina business owner turn on her Jefa-Owned neon sign is a testament to their entrepreneurial achievements, their resilience, as well as the important role they play in the US economy.”

Jefa campaign

Hispanic woman-owned firm Boden is responsible for the PR, social and creative for the Jefa-Owned campaign.

According to founder and president Natalie Boden, the campaign was based on insights from Latinas regarding the challenges they face in growing their businesses, such as access to capital, operation knowhow and extending personal finance.

“Latinas feel unseen in business because of those challenges,”​ said Boden.

“Latinas are still resilient, but they need that visibility. That led to the insight that no one can turn off a Jefa’s light.”

The neon sign will help business owners be even more visible.

“To have PepsiCo support us as small businesses, it feels like we are not invisible,”​ said Elizabeth Espinoza, owner of Chicago-based Miranda's Grocery and a recipient of PepsiCo’s Juntos Crecemos platform.

“PepsiCo is providing much needed business tools, resources and training that we would otherwise not be able to access.

“I am truly proud to be a part of Jefa-Owned, and I look forward to being a beacon of light to other Latina business owners in our Hispanic community."

How to apply

Applications for the Juntos Crecemos Hispanic Digital & Delivery Programme are now open.

Participants on the eight-week programme will have access to one-on-one coaching and guidance from experts on devising solutions for their unique business challenges.

They will also receive consultation on delivery logistics, technology, marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO), all designed to help them create a viable digital presence to access more customers.

The first 40 owners to complete the curriculum of the programme will receive an exclusive Jefa-Owned neon sign.

“Supporting Latina-owned businesses is intrinsically linked to strengthening the overall community it serves. From job creation to revenue generation, these businesses are positively impacting families, the communities and the economy,”​ said Antonio Escalona, senior VP and GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America.

“Our Jefa-Owned campaign is not only a celebration of the Latina Boss; it is an affirmation of the vital role they play in our economy and the commitment of PepsiCo to help their continued growth.”

Racial equity

In 2020, PepsiCo committed $172m over five years to address issues of inequality and create opportunity for Hispanic Americans, of which $50m will be used to support Hispanic-owned businesses.

A year later, it launched Juntos Crecemos, aimed to accelerate recovery for Hispanic businesses disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Since its launch, more than 130 business owners have participated in the Hispanic Digital & Delivery Programme and more than 500 bodegas have been provided with safety essentials.

Additionally, the PepsiCo Foundation has provided $2m in grants and business coaching to 150 businesses in 13 cities across the US through the IMPACTO Hispanic Business Accelerator. IMPACTO's ultimate goal is to provide $10m in funding to help 500 Hispanic small F&B owners. The next round of grant recipients will be announced in 2023.

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