Yvonne Cunningham Entrepreneur Profile
Yvonne Cunningham, owner of Nona's Italian Cucina, began to fall in love with the art of food when she spent seven years in Naples, Italy. Within her local community, Yvonne met a grandmother who only spoke Italian; however, they were able to communicate through food. Through this relationship, the grandmother showed her how to make traditional Italian sauce. Yvonne began making this sauce for her family and it became a mechanism to bring everyone together for a weekly dinner. After moving back to the States, Yvonne began catering weddings where her clients began to rave about her sauce’s authentic taste. From here, Yvonne began Nona’s Italian Cucina.
Yvonne found out about the CIC workshop through Virginia Food Works. She decided to apply as while she had a great product, she needed support to round out her business knowledge. Being a member of CIC’s workshop class increased Yvonne’s confidence in her product and taught her how to create a tailored business plan. Since the workshop, CIC’s network has allowed Yvonne to continue her outreach to the community and provide mentorship opportunities.
Yvonne credits CIC "with helping articulate her product when speaking to different groups of people, from potential customers to investors". For future entrepreneurs going through the class, Yvonne feels “if you believe in the product/service you are selling, you can make it work as CIC will provide you will the tools to make your business successful.”
In the future, Yvonne hopes to become established within the Charlottesville community. Look out for her at the Charlottesville Farmers Market come April. Currently, you can check out her Facebook and Instagram for updates on her sauce’s availability.