Recognizing the devastating business and social impact to the Asian American community over the past year, PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation announced a $1,000,000 commitment to provide support in partnership with the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC), the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), the National Restaurant Association (Association) and The Asian American Foundation (TAAF). These efforts are part of Stronger Together, community-based programs that leverage the expertise of PepsiCo and its partners to connect people and support communities in need.
Asian Americans have the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group, 3.5 times faster than the overall U.S. population.1 Furthermore, Asian-American businesses – from retail to restaurants and everything in between – play a vital role in our communities and the economy. Nearly two million Asian-owned small businesses generate $700 billion annually and employ 3.5 million people.2 Because COVID-19 fueled a challenging business and social climate that hit the community hard, PepsiCo and its partners are providing resources to help businesses recover and increase advocacy.
“Our communities are stronger when we all stand together, and we recognize the Asian community has faced painful circumstances over the past year,” said Jon Banner, executive vice president, PepsiCo Global Communications and president, PepsiCo Foundation. “Our goal is to uplift the community while providing access to the tools and support Asian-owned businesses are seeking.”
Providing expert technical and marketing assistance through “Project Rebuild”
The number of working Asian business owners dropped 20% from February to December 2020.3 In response, the AABDC launched Project Rebuild, an initiative that connects small businesses with corporations and their employee resource groups, which volunteer their professional expertise.
The PepsiCo Foundation provided a $250,000 grant to Project Rebuild to provide resources and training that address top challenges identified by AABDC beneficiaries: access to capital, marketing, and strategic partnerships. For example, to help Asian-owned businesses increase marketing exposure, Project Rebuild created a social media campaign that promotes small businesses nationally.
“Corporate initiatives are a critical part of long-term, collective solutions needed to help small businesses in minority communities,” said John Wang, AABDC president. “We need support from more global leaders like PepsiCo that can be part of the solution and recognize there are still many unmet needs in the Asian business community, which go beyond providing money.”
AABDC has signed up more than 400 small businesses to participate in Project Rebuild. Businesses that want to learn more can visit the AABDC website.
Helping Asian-owned restaurants prepare for an impending hospitality boom
Experts are predicting a “restaurant renaissance” in late 2021. As the industry revives, Asian-owned businesses are an important part of the mix. Nearly 26% of businesses in the food and accommodation services are Asian-owned.4
To assist recovery, PepsiCo is investing more than $300,000 with the NRAEF and the Association to help Asian-owned restaurants. Restaurateurs can learn more about these initiatives, and other ways the NRAEF and Association can support their businesses, by submitting information here. This current effort will be two-fold to support long-term revitalization:
- PepsiCo will cover the cost of a suite of training and certification resources that address pressing needs including food safety and career development. Unconscious bias, conflict de-escalation, COVID-19 precautions, and career enhancement are a few of the topics restaurants owners will be able to access based on their individual needs.
- PepsiCo also will contribute funding to NRAEF to provide financial assistance that will support Asian-owned restaurants and their workforce. Details will be available in the coming months.
“PepsiCo is a longstanding partner of the NRAEF, collaborating to help restaurant owners and workers access the education and training needed to thrive in our dynamic industry,” said Rob Gifford, NRAEF president. “As restaurant owners get back on their feet, we’re happy to provide support and expertise to set businesses up for sustained future growth.”
This coalition of PepsiCo, AABDC, NRAEF and Association also are encouraging consumers to show support for Asian-owned restaurants by frequenting them and sharing on social media with #AsianFood and #SupportAsianBusinesses.
Increasing advocacy and celebrating the many voices of the AAPI community
In addition to supporting businesses, PepsiCo remains committed to increasing advocacy and celebrating the many contributions of the AAPI community. To that end, Frito-Lay North America, the convenient foods division of PepsiCo, is donating $500,000 to TAAF, which serves the AAPI community in its pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence. The Frito-Lay investment will help TAAF continue to build the infrastructure to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation.