Ingrid Castro, a resilient Latina entrepreneur and the visionary behind “Los Secretos del Inca,” shares a heartwarming tale of family, perseverance, and the love for Peruvian cuisine. The inception of her business was inspired by a profound desire to create a legacy for her two daughters, as her mother and grandmother have done for her.
The spark that ignited her food truck business came after she watched the movie, “Chef. “I could do that,” she thought, and so Ingrid did. Rooted in tradition, Ingrid draws inspiration from her mother and grandmother, who ran a restaurant in Peru. Although she always enjoyed cooking, witnessing her family toil in the kitchen dissuaded her from pursuing it professionally. A nurse by profession, Ingrid’s life took a culinary turn upon arriving in a new country.
Reflecting on a memorable entrepreneurial moment, Ingrid fondly recalls the exhilaration of seeing her food truck come to life. This marked the beginning of a new chapter, filled with challenges and triumphs.
Since officially launching on December 6, 2022, the journey faced setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to delays in the food truck contract and difficulty in procuring essential supplies. Despite the hurdles, Ingrid found support in Prospera, a program that played a pivotal role in her growth. The guidance and assistance from the program manager and fellow entrepreneurs became invaluable assets.
Prospera facilitated a transformative experience for Ingrid, from refining her social media presence to working on a professional website. Through personalized assistance, she addressed challenges in catering packages and learned to use POS (point of sales) for a more streamlined business operation. Between October and December of 2023, Ingrid’s sales increased 15 percent.
Collaboration with consultants became a cornerstone of Ingrid’s progress. From pricing strategies to product enhancements, every piece of advice contributed to the improvement of Los Secretos del Inca. The support extended beyond guidance, including capital from KIVA and ongoing assistance from Prospera. In December of 2023, Ingrid launched her petition with KIVA to fundraise a $3,000 community-funded loan. In January of 2024, she was able to reach this goal and now has the opportunity to inject the capital into her business.
As Ingrid envisions the future, she believes there are no limits for those determined to grow. Encouraging fellow women entrepreneurs, she emphasizes the power of multitasking and the importance of continuous learning. Ingrid’s journey from contemplating something smaller to envisioning growth exemplifies the limitless possibilities for those who dare to dream.
In the words of Ingrid Castro,“The sky is the limit. Women should not stop learning; it is a learning process. Take advantage of opportunities, connect with consultants, and make the most of them. There are no limits for someone who wants to grow.”
You can find out where Ingrid’s food truck will stop next by visiting her Instagram: @lossecretosdelinca
Ingrid’s story, and many like hers, are made possible by support from the California Office of Small Business Advocate.