Catalina Onate: A Foodpreneur focused on Teamwork and Values

“Entrepreneurship is in my blood” – Catalina Onate, Founder of Best of Latin Foodstuff.

From an incredibly young age, Catalina Onate exhibited innate business acumen alongside a passion for entrepreneurship. Catalina was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs and spent most of her childhood in the office of their food distribution company in Bogota, Colombia. “My passion was always food and at the age of 19 I wanted to study to become a Chef but that never happened, my Dad advised me to study business,” says Catalina. She graduated from La Sabana University in Business Management with an emphasis on services. Later, Catalina managed to combine business with hospitality to keep her passion for food alive.

Catalina Onate
Catalina Onate, Founder and CEO, Best of Latin Foodstuff Trading LLC

In 2004, while working with Hilton RAK Hotel in UAE, Catalina realized that most of the fresh produce available in the country was imported. With this intuitive perception, she came with a business idea for products from South America. “I studied the market and visited some South American restaurants that were trying to prepare Mexican dishes, for example, but without the right ingredients was not possible. And this is how Best of Latin – BLF – started to appear in my dreams,” shares, Catalina.

Uniqueness of BLF

BLF’s mission is to make the Chefs’ lives easier and happier by customizing their kitchen demands based on the Best South American food products. It aspires to be at the top of mind of any Chef for providing the Best South American products and to be recognized for the Best Avocados supplied in the region.

BLF imports all its fresh produce from certified crops by international standards and dry and frozen stuff are produced by quality approved manufacturing facilities. Catalina works with the best, recognized, and well-experienced companies that export all over the world. She says, “Working with the Best suppliers can only guarantee the best products for our clients, this is one of the reasons for our name Best of Latin Foodstuff.”

Empowering People with Leadership Skills

‘The outside is only a mirror of what it’s inside.’ Catalina believes that her personal growth, challenges, and goals are a reflection of what BLF is today. BLF is founded with passion, dedication, and love and she tries to transmit the same to the team. Catalina feels that growing and improvement of a company can only be achieved with well-synchronized teamwork. “My right hand and partner is my brother Gabriel, he looks after the operation of the company, and together we do a great job,” says Catalina. 

According to Catalina, when it comes to clients, the right combination to keep them satisfied is the quick response and quality product and this combination makes the clients the best marketing tool for the company. 

While sharing her insights of an ideal leader, Catalina shares a phrase by Jim Kwik, ‘Leaders are good readers.’ She often invests time for herself and finding the inner balance has been a great success reflected on the business.

“Reading, meditation, and even audiobooks, this is the way I use to feed my spirit, to be inspired. This state of mind-being, as I call it, allows me to transmit the same to my team. I don’t expect my team to follow me out of fear but love.” She adds, “Love for the company, Love for our products, love for our clients, and love for a job well done. I see each of my employees like myself, the same divinity that lies in me, lies in them, and in everyone I see; in the end, we are all one.”

Advising Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Catalina believes we are all creative beings by nature, a good business idea comes out of passion and love for something you love doing even if don’t get paid for, something you don’t want to get retired from. 

And once you find that business idea she advises you to:

Align it with what you are – you are Love

Focus on it

Visualize where you want to be after some time.

And finally, dream, dream, dream, don’t stop dreaming!

The Future

Currently, BLF is working on the incorporation of new products from Columbia and Mexico into the portfolio. And the main product of the company, the avocados still have good opportunities for growth in the market by incorporating avocados from other origins and processed avocados using cero chemicals. 

“And finally, we are working as well on our online marketing strategy for this year. Our idea is to be present in every kitchen of the country with our products. By adding more value to BLF, we want to create a business model that could be replicated in other markets, such as Qatar, KSA, Egypt, and even the UK,” concludes Catalina.