NEW YORK, N.Y — In the United States, multicultural entrepreneurs have reportedly received only a 2% share of venture capital annually over the last decade. SIA Scotch Whisky, an award-winning spirits brand founded by a first generation Hispanic entrepreneur, is looking to help bridge this gap 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.
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 COVID-19. 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.”
“Throughout my career I have always pushed for inclusion and diversity in everything that I do,” said Wilmer Valderrama, who has worked tirelessly over the years to push for this mission. “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. 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.”
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch launches in partnership with Hello Alice, a free online platform that guides business owners through the growth of their company and matches individuals with the resources to make their dreams a reality.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize the impact that multicultural small businesses have on their communities,” said Elizabeth Gore, President & Cofounder, Hello Alice. “In the last 10 years, multicultural entrepreneurs have represented over 50% of new businesses started and created 4.7 million new jobs, yet they are largely excluded in funding. We are thrilled to be continuing our support for this community in partnership with SIA Scotch Whisky.”
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. For complete eligibility criteria and important restrictions, visit the application site. 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.
SIA Scotch Whisky is a multi-award-winning brand, which scored an impressive 96 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (2016) and a Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2014), thanks to its unexpected blend for the modern palate. When getting into the entrepreneurial spirit or when sipping on actual spirits, SIA encourages consumers of legal drinking age to drink responsibly.
About SIA Scotch Whisky
SIA is an unexpected blend for the modern palate and everything you’d never expect from a scotch whisky. Since its launch on crowdfunding site kickstarter.com in 2012 and appearing on shelves in 2013, SIA Scotch Whisky has been challenging conventions and inspiring others to achieve the unexpected. As one of the first scotch whisky brands in history to be launched by a Hispanic entrepreneur, SIA has an approachable taste profile that features warm vanilla, salty-sweet caramel, refreshing citrus, clover honey, buttery toffee and just a hint of smoke. Distilled, blended, matured and bottled in Scotland, SIA Scotch Whisky is a multi-award-winning brand, scoring an impressive 96 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (2016) and a Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2014) – and called “one of the best in its style” by Whisky Advocate Magazine (2015). SIA is delicious in cocktails, neat or on the rocks, and is best served in places and spaces where potential is poured and friendships are celebrated. Look for SIA Scotch Whisky on ReserveBar.com, as well as in your local liquor stores, restaurants, and bars.
About Carin Luna-Ostaseski
In a terrific twist of fate, 1st generation Cuban American Carin Luna-Ostaseski set out to create a Scotch Whisky brand that would change the way people think about the category. She decided to seek these new horizons in the form of a grand tour of her local whisky purveyor – 300 bottles of whiskies and countless tasting events later, she became a dedicated student of this sublime spirit. Carin eventually left her 17-year career as a Creative director and successfully funded SIA Scotch Whisky on kickstarter.com, pursuing her dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur and one of the first Hispanic people in history to create a Scotch Whisky company.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: DGE) and their products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, their people, brands, and performance, visit diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.
About Wilmer Valderrama
Actor, producer, and activist Wilmer Valderrama has been making audiences laugh, listen, and think for nearly two decades. Perhaps most recognized for his role as exchange student Fez on the Emmy-nominated series That 70s Show, the role catapulted him to stardom and garnered numerous Teen Choice Awards. Valderrama currently stars in the #1 TV drama NCIS on CBS and will next be seen in the indie-drama Blast Beat which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. On the animation front Valderrama will be the voice of Thurman Sanchez in the upcoming Netflix animated film Trouble, which he also executive produced. Prior to that he voiced Gaxton in the Academy Award nominated Disney film Onward, as well as the first Latino Prince Charming in the animated film Charming for Netflix, and the main character of Disney’s hugely popular animated children’s show Handy Manny, which introduced preschoolers to Spanish. Other television credits include appearances in Netflix’s The Ranch, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino’s television series From Dusk Till Dawn. Behind the camera, Valderrama created and produced the MTV series Yo Momma, also serving as the host for all three seasons, in addition to producing other MTV series such as Punk’d, Blowin’ Up and Trippin’. His production company, WV Entertainment, has multiples projects in development set to be released including The Turner’s for ABC and TV drama The Trail for CBS. In the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, Valderrama was inspired to turn the spotlight on frontline workers after a grocery store encounter and used his platform to give a voice to those being directly impacted by COVID-19 with his IG TV series 6 Feet Apart. Valderrama is active in several philanthropic agencies. Valderrama, along with America Ferrara and Ryan Piers William co-founded HARNESS, a group dedicated to connecting communities through conversation to inspire action and power change. In addition, Valderrama serves on the board of Voto Latino and is co-chair of their artist coalition. He is also the spokesperson for CHCI, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and is the founder of their Ready 2 Lead program, which educates and empowers the Latino youth. In 2013, Valderrama was honored with an ALMA Award for Outstanding Social Activism. Born in Miami and raised in Venezuela from 3 to 13, Valderrama is fluent in Spanish and English. His family relocated to Los Angeles, where he currently resides.
About Hello Alice
Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of nearly 500,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small- and medium-business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina owned company, founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners including women, people of color, veterans, and everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. To learn more, visit helloalice.com, as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.
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