Five small restaurants in West Queen West will receive financial support under the Amex-backed grant program

The funds will support owners disproportionately affected by the pandemic to help recover and grow their businesses.

TORONTO, May 18, 2022 /CNW/ – American Express Canada is pleased to announce the five independent restaurants that will each receive a $18,500 CAD grant under a new program run by the International Downtown Association (IDA) Foundation and the West Queen West Business Improvement Area (BIA), supported by American Express.

Debritu Ketgala, owner of Nunu Ethopian Fusion. (CNW Group/American Express Canada)

The initiative is part of American Express’ Backing International Small Restaurants global grant program to support culturally significant independent restaurants owned by people from underrepresented groups in five major cities around the world, which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

In Toronto, IDA Foundation worked in partnership with the West Queen West BIA to select grant recipients within the district boundaries. Selected restaurants will receive $18,500 CAD each to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic and make critical improvements needed to sustain their operations, such as enhancing digital capabilities, making physical upgrades, and building outdoor dining spaces air.

David DowneyExecutive director, IDA Foundationsaid: “The IDA Foundation is pleased to support the relaunch of these restaurants which contribute to the identity and vitality of their local community. We are delighted to see these businesses thriving again and we are inspired by their resilience which allows them to bring people from the neighborhood together.”

Rob Sysackexecutive director of West Queen West Business Improvement Area, says“West Queen West has always celebrated and prided itself on being known for the diversity of business owners and the products and services they offer. We are very grateful to IDA and Amex for this valuable support. to some of our most deserving members and helping to provide some of the resources to help them recover from the pandemic, prepare for the future, and continue to contribute to the vitality of our exciting neighborhood.”

Kerri Ann SantaguidaManaging Director and Vice President of Merchant Services, American Express Canada added: “We are delighted to provide these independent restaurants with much-needed financial support as they prepare for the upcoming summer season. Supporting small businesses is an integral part of who we are, and we’re excited to see from Toronto the restaurant industry continues to grow, prosper and contribute even more to the vitality of our neighbourhoods. »

The “Backing International Small Restaurants” program builds on American Express’ broader “Backing Small” initiative to provide economically vulnerable small businesses with financial support and other resources to address critical needs and challenges. In 2021, the company announced “Support small historic restaurants”, a similar program in United States to support the recovery and long-term success of historic small restaurants in the United States. Other programs include American Express’ Shop Small campaign, a global movement to highlight and support independent small businesses, and Amex Canada’s local programs. Plan: Support BIPOC companies mentorship and grant program to support the advancement of BIPOC-owned companies through Canada.

Grant recipients include:

  • banu – A 17-year-old Iranian family restaurant owned by three immigrant siblings, two of whom are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, who plans to use grant funding to build a summer patio, new amenities kitchen staff and hiring and training additional staff.

  • Frisaque – A family-run Mexican restaurant that opened in 2019 and plans to use grant funding to build an outdoor patio, replace the glass front door and create a website.

  • Nana station – An authentic Thai restaurant with a back alley vibe bangkok which plans to use grant funding for a new patio, new indoor seating, menu revamp and social media marketing.

  • Ethiopian Nunu Fusion – An Ethiopian restaurant that plans to use grant funding for a brand new lush patio space, social media marketing and patio musicians.

  • star queen – A Chinese-Canadian grease spoon that opened in 2000 and plans to use grant funding for new kitchen equipment, a bar counter, tables and furniture.

The IDA Foundation is the non-profit arm of the International Downtown Association, a washington d.c.Organization based on empowering place managers with knowledge, research and public policy to create thriving downtowns, commercial districts and livable urban places for all.

The West Queen West BIA, formed in 2005, is an association of over 300 commercial property owners and tenants that works in partnership with the City and advocates for its members to queen street from Bathurst for Gladstone a dynamic district and a business district. Home to an eclectic mix of galleries, design houses, unique boutiques, restaurants and boutique hotels, the WQW Art + Design District is the center of artistic innovation in the city – “the cool neighborhood with neighbors warm”.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, ideas and experiences that enrich lives and help businesses succeed. American Express was established in Canada in 1853 and offers a variety of consumer and business products. Learn more about and join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and instagram.

Salomé and Amir Mohyeddin, two out of three Banu co-owners.  (CNW Group/American Express Canada)

Salomé and Amir Mohyeddin, two out of three Banu co-owners. (CNW Group/American Express Canada)

SOURCEAmerican Express Canada



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