Graciela Carrillo

Graciela Carrillo expressed her love for cooking from the early age of three, “I was in the kitchen cooking with my grandmother all the time,” said Graciela.

After finishing college, Graciela traveled Europe where she attended culinary school. Returning to the states, she worked in a variety of restaurants, enhancing her cooking skills and deepening her passion for food. Later on, she found herself jobless after the restaurant she was working at, closed.

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, and presented with an opportunity, she decided to start Fina’s Cooking and Catering in 2019. To help grow her business, Carrillo looked to every bank for financial assistance, but received little, to no help. An SBA business advisor referred her to LiftFund, where she received financial support through a program designed to lift and empower Latina entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Eva Longoria Foundation. “LiftFund is

extremely helpful, they don’t give up. They are there for you and they do it with a smile,” said Graciela.

With her microloan, she was able to grow her business and further her passion to create delicious food and quality hospitality for clients. “Thanks to LiftFund and the Eva Longoria Foundation, Fina’s Cooking and Catering is now funded. Where everyone said no! They said yes! So grateful,” shared Graciela.

When COVID-19 emerged and quickly disrupted our lifestyles, Graciela’s clients booked for 2020 had to cancel, reschedule, or make adjustments to accommodate safety protocols. To face these challenges, Graciela adapted her menu and services to fit her client’s demands; she pivoted to smaller intimate gatherings, expanded delivery offerings, and introduced a meal delivery service for the elderly.

As the world copes with COVID-19, Graciela hopes to continue serving her community during these challenging times, while also growing her business and clientele.