After experiencing the heartbreak of closing his tapas restaurant in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Javier Haro reflected on his three years of restaurant experience and channeled his learnings to start a new business, Food He.ro.
“What inspired me to open our business was to bring about change and empowerment to local Black and brown communities,” said Javier.
Food He.ro is a Latino-led, bilingual culinary school and incubator in the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods of Chicago. Food He.ro assists entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their food businesses. They also help individuals interested in advancing their culinary careers.
In 2014 and 2015, Javier came to Allies for Community Business for a small business loan. During the pandemic, Javier received emergency capital through A4CB as well as a line of credit in 2021.
“Food He.ro was able to adapt to the marketplace by finding new sources of revenue such as nutrition meals and education thanks to our line of credit and small business grants,” Javier said.
Javier is also currently participating in A4CB’s Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab (NEL), a nine-month, cohort-based business accelerator program. Through NEL, Javier will connect with project strategies, community partners, corporate partners, and other entrepreneurs to help scale his business.
Currently, Javier employs four individuals and is hoping to add another six community members to his team this year.
Looking forward, Javier is hoping to launch medically tailored meals for individuals with severe chronic illnesses. Food He.ro is also working on opening a new grocery store in Little Village focused on prescription produce, which will make fresh produce more accessible and allow healthcare providers recommend fruits and vegetables to patients with chronic illnesses.