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Ricardo Ramos, the owner of Paletería Jamay (13301 S Brandon Ave, Chicago, IL 60633), is one of the thousands of Hispanic small restaurant owners who had not previously accessed pandemic assistance.

Now, thanks to the one-on-one technical assistance provided by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), many Latino restaurant owners are quickly applying to the federal SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) program. It is not a loan but a grant provided by the government to which many of them, like don Ricardo, are eligible.

Ricardo Ramos, who has been demolishing houses and buildings since he arrived in Chicago in 1991, came to the IHCC offices with the guidance of Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya. Our business advisor specialized in RRF, Pedro Guerra, helped him apply in the SBA portal in less than an hour.

Along with Ricardo, his wife Karina Barajas and their children Zaira (22 years old) and Ivan (19 years old) work in Jamay (named after the Mexican town in Jalisco where he is from). They opened the paleteria in 2016, and, as he told us, the pandemic led the family to think at some point about closing. Now, thanks to RRF funds, they will be able to recover much of their losses and look to the future from a different perspective.

Jaime Di Paulo –IHCC President and CEO– has instructed our entire team to provide extensive assistance to small Latino restaurants. That includes door-to-door tours, as well as more hours of one-on-one assistance, to make RRF benefits available to as many small businesses as possible.

“The IHCC hopes to reach underserved businesses that were not able to access relief at the same rate as other businesses and, in that way, ensure that we can rebuild the economy more equitably,” Jaime said.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Application Portal is open. The U.S. Small Business Administration will only process applications from a group of businesses that includes Latino restaurant owners for 21-days. This period will run from May 3 to May 24. It is designed to give Latino restaurant owners the best opportunity to receive the RRF grant.

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Read: IHCC hit the streets to help restaurants apply for RRF

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