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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Minority-Owned Restaurants, Food Vendors Can Apply For $1,000 Grants

The campaign is offering 40 grants to Chicago restaurants and food vendors run by women, people of color and undocumented entrepreneurs.

Cofounders Brian Soto and Jackson Flores have created Dish Roulette Kitchen to help minority-owned restaurants.
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PILSEN —  A Latino-run nonprofit is giving out grants to 40 minority-owned restaurants and food vendors left behind in economic relief programs amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Dish Roulette Kitchen, a nonprofit created to help minority-owned restaurants struggling during the pandemic, kicked off the campaign this week. Organizers will offer $1,000 grants to 40 restaurants and food vendors run by women, people of color and undocumented entrepreneurs. 

The organization is accepting applications on an ongoing basis. Entrepreneurs can apply for the grant online.

While $1,000 is a small capital investment, “it is a lifeline for the majority of these businesses,” Dish Roulette founders Jackson Flores and Brian Soto said in a press release.

“This campaign aims to highlight the immense disparity in financially supporting the businesses that continue to feed and employ communities across the city,” they said in a statement. 

“We believe now is the time to create innovative solutions for the systemic barriers limiting access to capital. It is also a time where relentless hustle and innovation will propel these businesses forward continuing to build a world-class food ecosystem here in Chicago.”

To be eligible for the micro-grants, restaurants or street vendors must be in the Chicago area, be a minority-owned business and have less than $500,000 in annual revenue. The business must have been operating for at least one year and have recorded a drop of at least 25 percent in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, Flores and Soto founded the nonprofit, which is aimed at helping minority-owned businesses through the financial strains of COVID-19. 

Flores and Soto have distributed $500 micro-grants to struggling Black and Brown businesses. The duo have more than a decade of restaurant experience, and Soto is a certified accountant, so they’ve provided business-related resources as well as promotion on their Instagram.

“I want to see our people not only survive but build out their dreams for sustainability so their family can take care of that legacy and keep it going,” Flores previously told Block Club Chicago.

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