When I think about small businesses, I think about my family. My uncle runs a small freight forwarding business in South Florida. My cousin works at a family-owned Peruvian restaurant. And my father-in-law is a serial entrepreneur who has run a hair salon, a construction company, and an outdoor food court over the years. These small businesses have been a lifeline for my family, and provided opportunities for us to succeed in this country.
Small businesses are the backbone of families like mine and the U.S. economy as a whole. It’s critical that we come together to support these pillars of local communities, especially for historically underserved groups, like the Latino community, which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to start a business, but in the past few months alone about 32% of Latino-owned businesses have been forced to close due to COVID-19.
In September, Google.org announced a $3 million grant to Hispanics in Philanthropy PowerUp Fund to directly support Latino-owned small businesses across California, Texas and New York. Through this effort, 500 small businesses were selected and will receive $5,000 in cash grants as well as a year's worth of business training from Ureeka, a community-based platform that connects underserved small business owners to peers, mentors and coaches, to help these businesses grow. We’re optimistic that through cash and training like this, small businesses will be able to build the resilience they need to withstand economic downturns, especially during the holidays.
The PowerUp Fund grant recipients represent more than 55 industries including food and beverage, health and wellness, childcare, technology and more. Nearly 60 percent of these businesses are Latina-owned and more than 15 percent of business owners identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, a U.S. veteran or persons with disabilities. We asked recipients to share how this support will help keep the lights on, here’s what some of them had to say:
Google.org’s funding for the PowerUp Fund builds on Google’s $180M commitment to support minority and women-led small businesses across the country through the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants. Read on to learn more about the other PowerUp Fund recipients and consider supporting a small business this holiday season— whether it’s buying your favorite candle from the shop around the corner or giving a shout out to your go-to dinner spot on social media—every little bit counts.