Fanny Perez, Las Delicias de Fanny, Woman Entrepreneur
Fanny is one of the many success stories at Hot Bread Kitchen. She is one of the many reasons HBK is raising money to provide baking scholarships to the women that come through the program. You can donate to the scholarships on the widget on the side bar of the blog and get the opportunity to win a variety of many of the one time only offers. I was so excited to talk with Fanny about the business that she has built. She is still learning English so Beatriz Mieses-Hernandez who is the training director at HBK translated for me.
Fanny grew up in Ecuador in a small town called Azuay Gualaceo. Her Father is a shoemaker and her Mother sold food that she made in their kitchen at the local marketplace. Many of the items that her mother made is what Franny makes now. In her town, when you become a teenager you generally go to work to for your parents. Fanny went thru what is the equivalent here of sixth grade. Her mothers business was not passed down from the last generation but she did it to make extra income. Fanny loved cooking and wanted to join her Mom. Fanny is the oldest of seven children, 4 boys and 3 girls.
At 19, Fanny already had two children. The father of her children was already in the US so she decided to migrate here to make a better life for her kids. She came by herself leaving her children behind and she would have them come later. She crossed the border in Mexico. Her children came later when they became teenagers also coming thru Mexico.
Fanny first got a job here working as a seamstress in the garment center. She spent 12 years there until they closed. It was 2005. She had to provide for her family so Fanny did exactly what her Mother did, she started cooking out of her kitchen and selling her food to friends and neighbors. She quickly started making more money selling her food than when she was working as a seamstress. She also enjoyed it more and she owned it.
About four years later she reached out to the Dominican Womens Development Center to help her get her papers and a work permit. Beatriz worked with the organization and told them she was looking for women who had cooking businesses for the incubator arm of HBK. They recommended she speak with Fanny.
Fanny wasn't so sure about applying for the incubator quite yet. She wasn't sure she felt comfortable jumping into that arena quite yet so she applied to work in the bakery first where HBK provides training. She wanted to understand the kitchen facilities and feel a little more confident before doing the incubator. She joined HBK in 2012 and four months later she applied to go through the incubator program and began in January 2013. A quick transition from bakery to incubator and certainly faster than she thought. Just a note, Fanny is also a single Mom raising a 6 year old. Her other children are now grown-up.
The Low Income Development Fund subsidizes communities efforts and they were helpful in getting all of Fanny's paperwork done to get her business formalized. This program is funded by Citibank Community Development that helps the entrepreneur pay for their license, insurance and a few food handlers to start working in the kitchen. It is a grant that really provides in making peoples lives better.
Currently Fanny is producing about 2 events a month and working with HBK to improve her English to communicate with her clients. She specializes in events for 100 people and more. Her specialties are slow roasted pork leg, shrimp ceviche, cooked dried corn, potato tortillas and picante. HBK helped Fanny formalize a business she was doing under the radar. It is a win win for everyone.