National Urban League Launches Black Restaurant Accelerator Program Powered by $10 Million Grant from PepsiCo Foundation

PURCHASE, N.Y., Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Urban League and PepsiCo joined forces to create the Black Restaurant Accelerator, which will boost approximately 500 Black-owned businesses over the next five years. The PepsiCo Foundation is providing a $10 million grant to fund the program, which will provide current and aspiring Black restaurateurs with access to capital, training, mentorship and other support services that are necessary for business success.

Black entrepreneurs have long faced systemic barriers to growth, including access to loans and capital, biased community perceptions and gentrification challenges. These hurdles have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as demonstrated by the 41% of Black-owned businesses that have shuttered since February 2020 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.* Through National Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers in 12 cities across the U.S., the Black Restaurant Accelerator will not only help address these barriers, but also take a long-term view by pairing participants with entrepreneurship advisors and PepsiCo employee volunteers to build an actionable plan for growth.

"This is a game changing program that will provide Black restaurateurs with access to business-building resources tailored to meet their specific needs," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. "Our understanding of the local business environment and community paired with subject matter expertise from PepsiCo team members will give business owners a leg up as they look to grow."

National Urban League will begin accepting applications for the program in the first quarter of 2021. Restaurateurs interested in receiving updates can go here. Learn more about Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers and other workforce development programs by visiting

"This is a key component of the broader investments we're making to bolster Black-owned restaurants and small businesses, which has never been more critical," said Jon Banner, executive vice president, PepsiCo Global Communications and president, PepsiCo Foundation. "We're honored to build on the important work the National Urban League is doing to diminish the barriers that limit possibilities for Black-owned foodservice businesses and create economic mobility that propels individuals and communities."

The Black Restaurant Accelerator program comes on the heels of recent PepsiCo efforts to advance Black-owned restaurants — enabled by strategic partnerships with industry, non-profit and grassroots organizations and advocates who share a passion for creating a more equitable industry — including:

  • Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership: PepsiCo is a founding sponsor of this long-term initiative to increase the number of Black-owned restaurant franchises in the U.S. in partnership with the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance (MFHA). Through curated training and mentoring administered through 4thMVMT, the program aims to create 100 Black-owned businesses by 2022.

  • Black Restaurant Week: Pepsi recently signed on as the first-ever national title sponsor of the Black culinary celebration. Together, Black Restaurant Week and Pepsi are celebrating Black culinary tastemakers through events in cities across the country designed to promote  Black-owned restaurants to the broader community while stimulating the local economy.

  • Advisory Council: PepsiCo assembled a body of industry visionaries to provide perspective, serve as a sounding board and advise on solutions for the Black foodservice community. Council members include:
    • Restaurant owner and entrepreneur Marcus Davis
    • Award-winning writer and author Osayi Endolyn
    • Founder & Curator, The Iconoclast Dinner Experience (IDE) Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell
    • Celebrity chef, author, CEO & President of DWT Culinary Associates LLC Daniel Thomas
    • CEO of The Black upStart Kezia Williams

These efforts are part of the $400 million commitment PepsiCo made over the next five years to advance racial equality within the company, industry and the communities it serves. More information is available at

*University of California, Santa Cruz, 2020

About National Urban League
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $67 billion in net revenue in 2019, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit

About The PepsiCo Foundation  
Established in 1962, The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system with a mission to support thriving communities. Working with non-profits and experts around the globe, we're focused on helping alleviate hunger, managing water and waste responsibly and supporting women as champions of nutrition from farm to family. We strive for tangible impact in the places where we live and work—collaborating with industry peers, local and international organizations, and our employees to affect large-scale change on the issues that matter to us and are of global importance. Learn more at

Contact: Gina Judge,





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