Non-profit cooks up aspiring businesses

February 28, 2012 — Alicia Villanueva immigrated to the US from Mexico ten years ago. To make money, she sold homemade tamales door-to-door and outside an Oakland church. Making tamales also kept her connected to her roots.

“In Mexico at Christmas or weddings, all the families would come together and prepare tamales. My tamales for me, it means my family,” she says.

Her dream was to own her own business — a daunting task for even seasoned cooks given that failure rates can be as high as 50 percent. That’s when she decided to take her dreams of entrepreneurship to La Cocina.

La Cocina — a non-profit based in San Francisco — is trying to level the playing field for aspiring chefs. The group helps low-income people start their own catering, retail or wholesale food businesses by providing funding, kitchen space and a smattering of marketing and operational support. Read more & watch the video.

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