Meet Paty Funegra, founder of La Cocina VA, a social enterprise that helps unemployed Latino immigrants find jobs in the food industry by teaching them food and language skills. For the past five years, she has run the culinary-training organization from the lower floor of Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia. But now, she’s ready to scale — and recently raised $2 million to open the Zero Barriers Training & Entrepreneurship Center, which will include a state-of-the-art kitchen incubator, a community cafe, and, she hopes, the promise of a successful future for newly arrived immigrants. Watch her startup story in this inspirational video.
For more videos of women entrepreneurs, news and inspiration on starting your own business, please visit
Also, follow us on:
every kitchen in the country could be a Vietnamese or Peruvian or American cuisine restaurant if you look back at the back of the house you're gonna find that he knows that he knows that are hard workers however Latinos and immigrants in general that face many barriers we see a lot of fear in our communities there is fear on both sides there are so many messages that discriminate immigrants Latinos people that take advantage of the system over use the system la cocina VA serves communities of color immigrant or individuals were a great way to obtain a job with interests in the culinary world to starting careers in the foodservice industry I grew up in prude eighties during the time of terrorism and a huge corruption and a narco traffic I remember going days without electricity without water those were very challenging times for families for my family that's when I immerse myself on international development from the distance from Washington DC I was never able to experience how families in Nicaragua or Brazil back in Peru we're being the beneficiaries of these investments I found this east central kitchen which offer culinary training to unemployed members of the african-american community mostly so I went there to table carrots and onions with all these other volunteers and pretty quick understand that approach that program could greatly benefit the Latino community I had to find partners and I have to put together the program and identify the first seed of money that were what's gonna help me make this a reality I remember I was skipping lunches and breakfasts at work just to go and knock on different doors so we're gonna cut around the cartilage here to the fact okay students put together meals that at the end of the day are parked in individual containers and delivered to affordable housing units and homeless shelters delivered by volunteers drivers that help our program and this program creates this sense of community among our students that come from those same neighborhoods and those same situations putting themselves out there bringing meals healthy meal options for their neighbors in need model we are working on civic engagement approaches to help them the Latino community present solutions to issues let's take it out okay hittable it showed with clear actions how we are continuing with numbers of income generated with taxes paid with kids attending college with how we are civically engaged in this country as new Americans you