REI backs entrepreneurs of color with $30 million business accelerator

Published by
The Seattle Times

Raquel Vélez, the daughter of two Puerto Ricans who settled in New Jersey, grew up with a cultural stereotype ingrained in her: “Puerto Ricans are allergic to snow.” But when Vélez discovered skiing in her late 20s around Lake Tahoe, California, she fell in love. At first she navigated the slopes in sweatpants under rain pants and a hoodie under a rain jacket. After a few too many jolts of snow down her backside, Vélez decided to invest in a pair of snow pants. A trip to her local outdoor gear shop was a bust, though. “Nothing fit me,” she said, an experience she found “devastating.” But that …

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