October 04, 2023  

Small business owners share how PepsiCo’s Impacto program is helping them thrive

Meet entrepreneurs who have used the skills and support gained from PepsiCo Foundation’s Impacto Hispanic Business Accelerator to grow even more successful.

“Small business owners are experts at what they do,” says Jesse Iniguez, owner of Back of the Yards Coffee, an independent shop he runs in Chicago’s South Side. “But what us small business owners are not always experts in,” Jesse continues, “is financial planning, accounting and legalities. We have a good product, a good service. But being successful in this industry is very difficult.”

Access to resources such as training, coaching and grants can go a long way in giving these small businesses a much-needed boost. The PepsiCo Foundation is offering support like this and more to passionate entrepreneurs around the U.S. through its Impacto Hispanic Business Accelerator. In September, the Foundation welcomed another 100 small businesses to the program, bringing the total to 250 since it launched in 2020. 

“The Hispanic community in the U.S. has long faced systemic barriers to success which are only amplified by current economic woes like inflation and worker shortages,” says C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo. “Our goal is to help these businesses navigate the ever-changing economy, beat the odds that small businesses face, and keep their doors open and their businesses thriving.”

Here, several small business owners share how training, coaching and the $10,000 grant from the Impacto Hispanic Business Accelerator have helped them prosper:

Jesse Iniguez
Back of the Yards Coffee, Chicago

Jesse Iniguez

Back of the Yards’ business is coffee, but their purpose is people. “I wanted this to be a space where the community could gather and really just be together,” Jesse says. The COVID-19 pandemic forced him to close his doors, and without the grant he received from the PepsiCo Foundation in 2021, Jesse fears it may have been for good. “The money allowed us keep our operations going and continue paying our staff during a time we otherwise could not,” he says. And the coaching he received through the Impacto program helped him boost his sales and profits enough that he was able to not only keep his business, but also grow it — a second Back of the Yards location is set to open this winter.

Joshua Archuleta and Fabby Espitia-Archuleta
El Roi Café, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Joshua Archuleta and Fabby Espitia-Archuleta

Joshua and Fabby started serving up traditional Native American and New Mexican cuisine in May 2021, but not without a significant strain on their finances. “With the money from the Impacto grant we were able to pay for rent, utilities, inventory and labor long enough to start catching up,” Fabby says. The support ensured their longevity. Now, El Roi is a popular spot for the weekday lunch crowd working in downtown Albuquerque. And their reputation is growing — New Mexico Magazine named their green chile cheeseburger one of 20 burgers “you need to try right now.”

DJ Flores
Milpa, Las Vegas

DJ Flores

The Impacto grant DJ received this year is helping him take his business in a new direction. He opened Milpa in 2021 to showcase Mexican dishes that emphasized grains and vegetables. But his house-made tortillas have become a staple. “The response from our customers has been great,” DJ says. “And the demand for our tortillas has been even greater.” DJ plans to put some of the money he receives from the grant toward opening a tortilleria where he can make and sell his tortillas to other restaurants and retail stores around Las Vegas.

Elena Barcenes
Rincón Salvadoreño, Queens, New York

Elena Barcenes

Rincón Salvadoreño has been cooking fresh pupusas and other El Salvadoran favorites in the Jamaica, Queens neighborhood for more than 40 years. One lesson that has stuck with Elena during all that time is that change is constant. “You have to continue to adapt,” she says. “Just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will work again.” The Impacto training courses she’s taken this year have opened her up to new strategies for attracting and retaining customers, and she plans to put some of the grant money toward finishing construction on a full-service bar that she hopes will provide an additional revenue stream.

Koraly Hernandez
Yummy Café & Sweets, Fort Worth, Texas

Koraly Hernandez (pictured on right)

When Koraly moved to Texas in 2018, she couldn’t find a place that served coffee as strong as she and her husband liked, so she decided to open her own. What began as a food truck expanded to a brick-and-mortar location earlier this year, offering both coffee and Puerto Rican pastries that Koraly bakes. But the transition required new skills. “We know how to go to where our customers are, but we needed to learn how to bring them to us,” Koraly explains. The one-on-one coaching Koraly received from the Impacto program over the past few months provided invaluable marketing lessons, and the grant money has given her a safety net most small businesses operate without. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this program,” Koraly says. “It’s reminded me that I’m not alone in this.”