Business

Hispanic Restaurant Association and DoorDash Launch Grant Program for Local Restaurants

Manny Barella, Selene Nestor and John Jaramillo of the Hispanic Restaurant Association.
Manny Barella, Selene Nestor and John Jaramillo of the Hispanic Restaurant Association. Staci Berry
Minority-owned restaurants now have the opportunity to receive major assistance and funding through Accelerator for Local Restaurants. The program was created by DoorDash, which is partnering with the Denver chapter of the Hispanic Restaurant Association (HRA), an advocacy organization for Hispanic-owned restaurants, and the Accion Opportunity Fund, a group that helps with business growth and resources, to give local woman and minority-owned restaurants eight weeks of business training and $20,000 each.

"The majority of the restaurant industry is Hispanic, and a lot of the Hispanic-owned restaurants did not receive the help they needed during the pandemic," notes Selene Nestor, HRA boardmember. "The Hispanic community doesn't really seek out those programs, because there's not enough information."

Nestor says that there is a stigma around minorities receiving grants or extra assistance, but she doesn't want this grant to be seen as a handout; rather, it's something that is meant to help businesses thrive and feel supported and wanted in the community.

The eight-week training program consists of business coaching, legal and financial services, networking and more. At the end of the eight weeks, each business will receive $20,000.

"It's going to make a huge difference in the community," Nestor says. "There are a lot of minority-owned businesses that are going to benefit greatly from this."

The initiative is part of the HRA's commitment to leadership and education within the restaurant industry, specifically for minorities. It promotes a five-pillar leadership model that consists of education, teamwork, relationship building, cultural ethos and leadership, and the Accelerator for Local Restaurants will include training on components of those pillars

DoorDash has already provided this program to restaurants in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia, partnering with different organizations across the country to make these opportunities possible for small businesses. Since DoorDash started this program in 2021, 115 restaurant owners have completed the program.

The application only requires that restaurants be owned by minorities, that they have been open for two years, and that they employ fifty or fewer people across all locations. Eligible cities are Aurora, Dacono, Denver, Englewood, Fort Lupton, Littleton and Longmont. In Denver, twenty restaurants will be chosen from the pool of applicants.

"Anybody that is thinking about applying, do it," Nestor says. "We want your business to be able to benefit from this."

Applications are open through September 9, and the eight-week program will begin October 11. For more information and to apply for the program, visit doordashimpact.com/restaurantaccelerator.
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Katrina Leibee, a recent graduate of Colorado State University, is an editorial fellow at Westword, covering politics, business and culture.
Contact: Katrina Leibee