PepsiCo Focuses on Food & Beverage in Latest Round of Startup Program

Greenhouse Accelerator Program: Juntos Crecemos Edition will help elevate high-potential Hispanic-owned consumer packaged goods companies.
Danielle Romano
PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program_Juntos Crecemos

PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo Inc. is bringing back its Greenhouse Accelerator Program: Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow) Edition for the second consecutive year.

The collaborative program focuses on elevating high-potential Hispanic-owned consumer packaged goods (CPG) food and beverage startups that demonstrate the promise of transforming the industry with snacks and beverages that are better for people and the planet.

[Read more: PepsiCo Sets New Goals for Convenient Foods Portfolio]

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According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino businesses generate $800 billion for the U.S. economy yearly, but they have the potential to generate much more if provided greater access to business-critical resources. Programs like the Greenhouse Accelerator Program are providing businesses with the training and access to capital needed to continue to strengthen the U.S. economy, PepsiCo stated.

"We are so excited to launch year two of the program to be a catalyst of growth for emerging Hispanic-owned ventures in the food and beverage industry," said Esperanza Teasdale, vice president and general manager, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America. "Last year's program was a reciprocal exchange of learning. Mentors provided mentees with invaluable business advice, and the mentees provided a thoughtful approach to their respective businesses and the industry at large. This cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives is what helps drive innovation within PepsiCo."

Now through May 6, aspiring food and beverage businesses engaged in the creation or sale of CPGs on a national scale can submit their applications for the Greenhouse Accelerator: Juntos Crecemos Edition program. The initiative is part of PepsiCo Positive's (pep+) transformation agenda, aiming to foster a more circular and inclusive value chain. 

PepsiCo will choose eight promising businesses from the applicant pool to receive a $20,000 grant and join the five-month mentorship program to address their specific business challenges, including brand development, scaling technology, business model development, product optimization and go-to-market strategy.

Throughout the year, the finalists will present plans to address their individual business obstacles, progress and tangible results to an expert evaluation committee. In November, the committee will award a $100,000 grand prize to the most promising business to continue its expansion along with the possibility of working with PepsiCo and Juntos Crecemos.

"The success resulting from programs like this one showcases the power of the U.S. Hispanic entrepreneur," said Antonio Escalona, senior vice president and general manager, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America. "Embracing the spirit of innovation, our commitment at PepsiCo is rooted in meeting the dynamic demands of today's evolving consumers. We hope to give these Hispanic-owned start-ups the resources needed to shape the future of food and beverage with creativity, ingenuity and relentless dedication."

[Read more: PepsiCo Awards Grants to 100 Hispanic Food & Beverage Business Owners]

Daniel Schwarz, winner of the inaugural mentorship program and founder and CEO of Mexican-inspired snack company CHUZA, used the grant and expertise he gained to raise product awareness and inspire brand love through expanded branding and marketing efforts. Since November 2023, Schwarz has been focused on product packaging improvements and working on new product innovations that he hopes to introduce later this year.

"I cannot thank PepsiCo enough for the financial and strategic support that I received through the first-ever Juntos Crecemos Edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program," Schwarz said. "I encourage all Hispanic business owners in the food and beverage sector to apply for this program and take advantage of all it has to offer because it can help transform your businesses to make an impact in the industry."

[Read more: PepsiCo Shares Significant Progress on ESG Goals]

Since expanding to North America in 2018, the Greenhouse Accelerator Program is now in its ninth iteration, supporting entrepreneurial growth and uplifting a wide range of suppliers with one fundamental goal: to foster the growth of entrepreneurs.

Purchase-based PepsiCo generated more than $91 billion in net revenue in 2023, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay's, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker and SodaStream. 

Pep+ is PepsiCo's strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how the company will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. 

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