Thanks to Centro Community Partners for sharing Rosa’s story!
Rosa Guerrero Contreras had a dream of launching her own plant-based food business for the last five years. What started as a hobby soon became a passion, but Rosa wasn’t quite sure of how to convert that passion into a business. Last spring, Rosa joined Centro’s Basic Entrepreneurship Program to launch California Vegan Food Company (CVFC). CVFC’s mission is to satisfy the needs of their customers while contributing to a more sustainable planet. They do this by keeping the familiarity of the foods Latin@s grow up with.
In 2018, Rosa found herself unclear of exactly how to build the foundational pieces of her business. “Before Centro, my business was just a concept,” Rosa said. “I needed to put my ideas into action and Centro empowered me to do so.” As she participated in Centro’s program, Rosa evaluated every part of her business, from its mission and vision to its marketing strategy and finances. She also created her business plan, using Centro’s Business Planning App. The program provided Rosa with access to local entrepreneurs that also serve as mentors.
Since completing the program, her company has begun manufacturing two products, launched its first line of vegan protein creations, and received a $10,000 interest-free loan from Kiva. She used the loan to expand to pop-up and community events, and will soon have a presence at her local farmer’s market in San Jose. Rosa credits Centro with empowering her to get to the next level as an entrepreneur. “Our advancement as a business since finishing Centro’s entrepreneurship program gave me and my co-founder affirmation that we have been doing something right, something good,” Rosa said. “I look forward to further growing California Vegan Food Company this upcoming year.”
Today, Rosa continues to communicate with her Centro trainers who have helped her through the everyday challenges entrepreneurs face. She is currently still working full-time outside of CVFC to pay the bills and dedicates herself to planting the seeds that will allow CVFC to grow. Rosa empowers herself and her community as a result of her passion for plant-based products. “I believe that business is one of the best ways to create lasting positive change in this world,” she says. “For future entrepreneurs, patience will be your best teacher throughout your journey – however, let your passion be your guide.”
Over the next year, CVFC hopes to acquire a van to facilitate their logistics and storage. CVFC will also continue to expand the variety of products they offer.