Austin-based Siete Foods has surprised the owners of La Cocina de Consuelo and Comadre Panaderia with generous grants of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, to support their efforts in providing comfort and nourishment to their customers. This remarkable act of kindness aims to address the underserved and underrepresented Latino community in the business sector, as expressed by Linda Garza, general counsel for Siete Family Foods. Garza emphasized the importance of access to funding, recognizing the significant role it plays in the success of businesses within this community.
The Juntos Fund, established by Siete three years ago, has committed to distributing $2 million over the course of the next five years. The motivation behind this initiative stems from the realization that out of over 2 million businesses with Latina founders in the United States, Latinas only receive a meager 2 percent of venture capital funds. Garza believes that by providing the necessary support, Siete can contribute to the success and prosperity of these businesses.
For women like Leticia Garcia and Mariela Camacho, working with food is not only a means of employment but also a cherished tradition passed down through their immigrant families. Camacho, the owner of Comadre Panaderia, describes her upbringing, stating, “Restaurants is just where you go to work. I grew up in restaurants, grew up working with food.” Comadre Panaderia, located on the east side of Austin, offers a delectable selection of pan dulce, croissants, and cookies, all prepared using recipes deeply rooted in the history of her family’s journey to the United States.
Similarly, La Cocina de Consuelo, owned by Garcia, represents a testament to the resilience and hard work of her family. The restaurant was established by her Aunt Consuelo, affectionately known as Connie, who sadly passed away in February. Reflecting on her aunt’s legacy, Garcia shared, “When I think about my aunt, I really admire her work. The good thing is that she taught me how to be strong and to know how to handle different problems that come up in the restaurant.”
The memory of Aunt Consuelo and the perseverance of previous generations continue to motivate Garcia and her family to press forward. She expressed her pride in the next generation’s efforts, stating, “The next generation, we’re trying our best. I feel so proud.” These businesses, including the ones chosen in Austin and the other nine recipients, have become a remarkable source of inspiration. Their understanding of the impact they can have on themselves, their families, and future generations of Latinos resonated with the organizers of the Juntos Fund.
In a world where opportunities for Latinas in the business sector are limited, initiatives like the Juntos Fund provide a glimmer of hope. By recognizing and supporting the unique contributions of these businesses, Siete Foods is helping to create a more inclusive and prosperous environment for the Latino community.