Diversity growing together

Sheila Cordova from Peru

18 years ago, Sheila Cordova moved to the Netherlands from Peru. She is a lawyer who gives legal advice to Spanish people in the Netherlands. Baking is a hobby that she immensely enjoys and seeing the increase in the number of people with gluten and lactose deficiency in the Netherlands, she decided to work on producing gluten and lactose free cakes as well.

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Sheila’s Story

Along with a coach from Itzinya, I have been working on improving my recipes and marketing strategies for the past 4 months. This is a person that is assigned individually to each of the participants during the course. An individual coach is usually difficult to find in the Netherlands. The coach has been following up and helping me even after my graduation, which took place in December 2020. With my coach, I discuss the steps that need to be taken in order to make my product functional in the markets. These discussions can vary from the taste of my cakes to creating business strategies. I found this great because when initiating a business, one requires a lot of information, and to have a knowledgeable person assist you is very helpful.

Itzinya is a “good place” and it is “amazing”. I was able to receive and form many business ideas that are viable in the Netherlands during my time there and it was wonderful. Itzinya highlighted for me how the product I want to launch can be suitable for the society and the culture. At Itzinya I was able to cover everything that I need to know before initiating a start-up. Being a person who does not enjoy theory, I am happy to underline the practicality of the course. I would specifically emphasize how Itzinya helped me with networking within the business industry, especially since I was not familiar with the sector.

Regarding my time there, I had a wonderful experience getting to interact and work alongside people from such diverse backgrounds while learning more about the individual cultures

Next Step

Currently she is working on developing her business products as well as continuing her job as a lawyer. She has decided to carry both these professions alongside each other for now.



Peru being the 3rd largest country in South America has a 2,400 Km of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. It boarders with Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia. It is a tropical, Spanish-speaking country that houses 31 million people from different ethnic backgrounds. The country not only enjoys a diversity in ethnicity but also has a diverse landscape. Moving up from the Peruvian coastline, one would discover the highlands and be led to the Amazon rainforest which covers part of the country.

0.9% of the population of the Netherlands consists of immigrants from the Caribbean.