Meet Pilar Rengifo, the visionary behind The Choclo, a business born out of a profound desire for wellness and a passion for entrepreneurship. Pilar’s journey began with a personal health crisis, where she faced health problems and the daunting prospect of lifelong medication. Determined to explore alternative solutions, she turned to dietary changes, believing that food could hold the key to her well-being.

Inspired by her Colombian heritage and a love for traditional cheese bread, Pilar embarked on a mission to bring the flavors of her homeland to the Bay Area. With a deep understanding of traditional Colombian baking and a commitment to quality ingredients, she created The Choclo in her own kitchen. Using Cassava starch, cornstarch, and corn flour – staples of Colombian cuisine – Pilar crafts delicious pastries that captures the essence of her culture while remaining gluten-free.

But, Pilar’s journey wasn’t without challenges. Starting a business from scratch required countless hours of experimentation, research, and unwavering determination. Thanks to Prospera’s support, Pilar made crucial investments in her business, hiring staff and acquiring machinery. This fueled expansion and boosted efficiency. Transitioning from her full-time job, she focused on The Choclo’s growth, securing new customers and driving sales. Today, The Choclo’s products can be found in 27 stores and cafes across the Bay Area. 

“​​I [am] 100% employee and owner of my dream called, The Choclo. This would not have been possible without the support of Prospera and each of the participants who are part of it. You showed up at that moment when I didn’t know where to go. From then on, you never left me. Every time I felt lost, one of you would show up to pick me up and give me that ‘berraquera’ and strength that only you know how to give.”

Moreover, the financial assistance from Prospera has enabled Pilar to reinvest profits into the business, fueling further growth and expansion. This cycle of reinvestment and growth has positioned The Choclo for continued success, highlighting the transformative effect of program support on business outcomes.

As Pilar continues to expand her business, her vision remains unchanged: to delight customers with the authentic taste of Colombian baked goods and to bring a piece of her culture into homes across the Bay Area. Visit to find out where you can taste the flavors of Colombia for yourself and let your taste buds experience the magic of The Choclo.

Pilar’s story, and many like hers, are made possible by support from the California Office of Small Business Advocate.

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