Black Restaurant Accelerator Program, Baltimore

PepsiCo Foundation, NUL, and the Greater Baltimore Urban League Host Culinary Tasting Event to Celebrate Black Owned Restaurants

The PepsiCo Foundation, National Urban League, and Greater Baltimore Urban League are pleased to announce the first Culinary Tasting Event in honor of the Black Restaurant Accelerator Program. The one-night event will showcase grantees of the program and highlight success stories emerging from this impactful partnership.

The Black Restaurant Accelerator Program (BRAP), a joint initiative between PepsiCo Foundation, the National Urban League, and Greater Baltimore Urban League (GBUL) aims to provide support and resources to Black-owned restaurants across the country. Recognizing the critical role that these businesses play in their communities, the GBUL BRAP program focuses on empowering entrepreneurs and building a stronger future for Black-owned restaurants. The accelerated program runs for 8-10 weeks of intense and informative sessions to educate, enhance, and sustain Black-owned restaurants in Maryland. The cohort consists of a series of workshops in addition to one-to-one personal coaching guidance from our expert consultants to support their growth and the scaling of their businesses.

The event will be held on September 12th at 6 pm, at the Baltimore World Trade Center. A city rich in culture and history, Baltimore serves as the perfect backdrop to celebrate the resilience and achievements of Black-owned restaurants as the city is home to many successful grantee stories.

The success of this nationwide partnership can be seen in the numbers since the inception of the program in 2021:

More than 1,000 business owners across the country have been served by the Black Restaurant Accelerator Program, leading to 26 new restaurant openings

Local Baltimore Success:

-24 restaurant owners participated in the Baltimore programming

-96 restaurant jobs were created in the Greater Baltimore region

“We are inspired by the impact we are making through our collaboration with the National Urban League to address a fundamental gap and create opportunities for Black business owners to build generational wealth and continue to strengthen their communities,” C.D. Glin, president of PepsiCo Foundation, said. “By providing Black-owned restaurants with capital, technical assistance, and access to resources, we believe we can make a measurable impact on their trajectory not just today but for generations to come.”

Attendees of the event will have the opportunity to hear directly from program grantees, who will share their inspiring stories of growth, innovation, and community impact.

“As a first-generation black woman and entrepreneur, there are tons of things we are not taught or have access to when building our businesses. The Black Restaurant Accelerator program opened doors that previously seemed impenetrable. The support and feedback from the business coaches have refocused me on the upward trajectory of French Toast Connection. Funding will set the stage for materials and staffing needed to grow as well as expansion,” said Donvenia “French” Jackson, chef/owner of French Toast Connection. “It’s no secret that small black businesses don’t often reach their full potential due to various systemic barriers. This program is changing that for participants. I am now more equipped to grow French Toast Connection strategically and organically which will have a positive outcome for my family, community, and other food businesses.”

These entrepreneurs will detail how the Black Restaurant Accelerator Program has helped them to transform their businesses, overcome challenges, and navigate the complexities of the industry.

“We are truly thrilled about the transformative partnership between the Greater Baltimore Urban League and the PepsiCo Foundation Black Restaurant Accelerator program. This collaboration represents a remarkable opportunity to empower and uplift Black restaurant owners in our community, providing them with the resources, mentorship, and guidance they need to thrive in the culinary industry,” said Tiffany Majors, President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Urban League. “We are especially excited to announce a forthcoming culinary tasting event that will showcase the exceptional talents of the program’s participants as well as celebrate their incredible achievements. This group of entrepreneurs has certainly transcended above their peers. They could view the tip of the iceberg in creating generational wealth for their families. This event will serve as a testament to the resilience, creativity, and dedication of these entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of our local Baltimore food scene.”

Executives from the PepsiCo Foundation will be present to address attendees and emphasize the company’s commitment to supporting black-owned restaurants.

Leaders from the National Urban League, a historic civil rights organization, also will be in attendance to discuss the organization’s dedication to economic empowerment and social justice through partnership and collaboration.

“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the Urban League mission, and Black–owned restaurants, in particular, hold a special place in the history of the civil rights movement,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “The impact of the Black Restaurant Accelerator program lies not only in breaking down barriers to business creation and expansion but also in infusing strength and resiliency into our communities. We’re proud to showcase the success of this incredible partnership.”

This invite-only event will include notable Baltimore city leaders, community members, and grantees.

When: September 12, 2023, 6:00-8:30 PM 

 Where: Baltimore World Trade Center – 401 E. Pratt Street