Patricia Funegra is a social entrepreneur, activist and advocate for economic development in Virginia. Paty moved to the United States from Peru in 2007 and in 2011 began working in international development at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC in 2010. It was there she found her true calling as a catalyst for social change.
Paty founded La Cocina VA in 2012 with a vision to create opportunities for economic growth in Northern Virginia specifically focusing on the Hispanic community. She currently leads this social enterprise as Chief Executive Officer. La Cocina VA is a workforce and small business development non-profit organization that provides vocational and technical education for the food service and hospitality industries, English language training and job placement for the unemployed.
Paty is now working on the expansion and scaling of La Cocina VA’s services to offer entrepreneurship training and capacity building to veterans and their spouses, as well as to groups of other low-income members of the community with barriers to employment and entrepreneurship.
Through La Cocina VA, she has been able to help immigrants and low-income Virginian’s get the necessary skills to pull themselves out of poverty, and in the process, has expanded their access to fresh fruits and vegetables.