In the United States, entrepreneurs of color are reportedly 30% more likely to experience a lack of capital and relevant networks than their counterparts--and SIA Scotch Whiskey wants to do something to help bridge the gap.
The award-winning spirits brand, which was founded by a first generation Hispanic entrepreneur, is looking to do their part by partnering with celebrated activist, actor, and producer Wilmer Valderrama to launch The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch. Spearheaded by SIA’s founder Carin Luna-Ostaseski, and inspired by her journey of building the brand from the ground up, this initiative aims to challenge conventions and inspire others to achieve the unexpected.
“Throughout my career I have always pushed for inclusion and diversity in everything that I do. Supporting the progress and perseverance of multicultural entrepreneurs who are trying to achieve their dreams and disrupt the status quo is incredibly important to me,” Valderrama said about this new partnership. “I’m so honored to partner with SIA Scotch Whisky on The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and I believe that their work will make a big impact, especially during these difficult times.”
This disruptive new grant program will deploy a quarter of a million dollars to multicultural small business owners in need of support, especially after the additional challenges they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also offer recipients access to mentorship opportunities with SIA’s founder, who is one of the first Hispanic people in history to create a Scotch Whisky, and who faced a myriad of challenges during her own entrepreneurship journey.
“SIA Scotch Whisky was born out of passion, determination and perseverance - the same characteristics that drive many other entrepreneurs. As a first generation Cuban American, I experienced so many uphill battles, from securing funding to dealing with regulations and securing investors,” said Carin Luna-Ostaseski. “But, after finally getting crowdfunded on Kickstarter and seeing those first bottles on shelves, I knew my purpose was to help inspire other underrepresented entrepreneurs achieve their dreams too. I am so proud of The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and its mission to embrace the cultural diversity that helps define our country.”
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch will award $10,000 grants to 25 qualifying entrepreneurs who self-identify as people of color, for a total of $250,000. To apply, visit siascotchfund.helloalice.com. To be eligible, the business owner must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States, 25 years or older, and must operate in at least one of the following states where SIA is sold: California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New York and/or Texas.
Applications are open now through August 10, 2021. Grant recipients will be announced by September 14, 2021 and funding will be distributed by October 8, 2021.