Global finance giant Santander Bank announced today that it will award US$100,000 in grants, plus technical and business training to 30 food industry entrepreneurs from the Greater Boston area’s underserved neighborhoods.
The pledge is part of the bank’s Cultivate Small Business initiative, through which Santander, in partnership with Commonwealth Kitchen, Babson College and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, provides educational services, mentoring, access to local business networks, and capital grants to small, local businesses.
This year, the program received 75 applicants, of which 50 were interviewed and 30 were selected. Those participating are 50% comprised of female-owned businesses, 60% living or working in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, and 67% people of color.
Established in 2017, the Cultivate Small Business program helps early-stage entrepreneurs grow and sustain business endeavors. Additionally, the program aims to empower women, minority and immigrant-owned business owners in the food and beverage space. According to Santander, hospitality is an industry that has deep significance to local economies, therefore being selected as the beneficiary of the program.
Participating entrepreneurs and businesses are provided with food-service related business management skills, technical assistance, and access to a local network of established food-industry experts.
"At Santander Bank, we believe that respect should be the foundation for everything we do, including how we engage in and support our local communities," said Seth Goodall, Santander's Executive Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. "The Cultivate Small Business program provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to access business education, professional networks and capital. We're proud to support this program, and the resulting economic growth these entrepreneurs will provide in underserved neighborhoods."