Lisa Sohanpal – CEO-Nom Noms World Food

Resilience Personified

Massive supermarket launches, sensational collaborations, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete and win at the 2020 Global Startup World Cup. These were just some of the grand plans Lisa Sohanpal, co-founder and CEO of Nom Noms World Food, and her team had on their quest to revolutionize the world of fast & convenient food.

Yet, like an uncontainable blaze, COVID-19 set More to those plans whilst torching through all major industries and the livelihoods of businesses & the people who depend on them. For Lisa, it symbolized a critical inflection point in her entrepreneurial, career – should she take a much-needed break to see what unfolded in the world whilst spending time at home with her husband and 3 children? Or should she bring out the whiteboard, devise a new strategy, commit to ensuring her supply chain was protected, and be launch- some-day-ready with limited funds to spend in an uncertain, unprecedented future? If you picked the last one, you are correct. Except add to the mix: launching a brand new protective fashion brand, a social-impact-focused investment group, and an umbrella company as the parenthesis encompassing all brands, named after her Father.

The Genesis

Prior to founding Nom Noms World Food, Lisa was in the Medical Devices industry where she spent 18 years as an International Director of Medical Devices, managing 47 countries, and traveling around the world all the time – at the oddest of hours. Lisa states that she was fortunate to travel to many destinations through her work in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. During her experience, she saw many children suffer malnutrition and were constantly fighting for their lives. They would only go to school because they were guaranteed a meal and would walk miles to do so. With 3 young children of her own, it was heart-breaking to see.

Coming back to North America and seeing the opposite – that kids were consuming junk food by the second –which motivated her further to transform the way our younger generations eat so that they can live longer, healthier lives, whilst helping to change the lives of those in need. Working with dieticians and food experts, alongside her husband, Dr. Imrat Sohanpal, Lisa devised recipes for real food, made free from harmful properties with the invaluable bonus of not requiring preparation, cooking, or washing up whatsoever. With an ambition to diversify the palate of consumers around the world, her products strive to re-create the authentic flavors from their global culinary experiences and thus, Nom Noms World Food was born.

About Nom Noms World Food

Nom Noms World Food crafts, mouth-watering world cuisine that is ready to heat and eat in seconds. Think delicious, exotic meals, and high protein hot wraps, fully cooked and full of flavor – no grocery shopping, no preparation, and no cooking necessary. All 100% locally made without any nasties or processing, pre-packaged to cut human interaction, and deliver convenience at its best. Nom Noms believes that solving world hunger should be as easy as eating. So for every purchase, they feed hungry children in need to keep them off the streets and in school to gain an education. Using advanced technology innovations, Nom Noms is disrupting the convenience, economy with unprecedented shelf-life in fresh and frozen, whilst enabling people to measure their impact end to end.

Finally, visual creators from around the world will design and deliver unique localized experiences to your mobile device, through their world’s first Experience-Sharing platform.

Challenges faced and Achievements

Nom Noms World Food has received over 42 awards spanning across product innovation, packaging, concept, and entrepreneurship. More recently, these include the prestigious 2019 Telus Pitch Multicultural Business of the Year award and Winning the Startup World Cup 2020 New York Regional, putting them in a position to now win the Start-Up World Cup in 2021. Also, Nom Noms World Food was hand-picked by the British Royal Family, as a notable brand to be included in the “Our Royal Baby” commemorative book, to celebrate the birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

But the journey was not easy. One of the biggest hurdles Lisa faced was getting funded, as it is near impossible for women to break through the unchanged history of funding challenges. Currently, only 3% of women-owned businesses get investment – it’s mind-boggling and cannot be ignored. Breaking this barrier was something that she always held close to her chest, and she wants to educate and inspire fellow female entrepreneurs to do the same.

Resilient is the word Lisa believes best describes her. With the number of bizarre things that she had faced has taken her resilience to a level she didn’t even know existed. She simply doesn’t think there is anything she cannot bounce back from. For those starting up, she recommends working out contingency plans ahead of time. Always have several backup options for all areas of your business, always! To those seeking funding, she says “Never give up on your dreams and continue to work hard to bring your vision to reality. Keep persevering especially when others doubt you. No one will Gght for your business more than you and when the timing is right, doors will not only open, they will have an elevator to take you straight to your dreams.”.

Source of Motivation

Growing up as the eldest of 4 children in an Indian family new to pre-multicultural Australia had instilled an undying sense of responsibility, to challenge cultural norms, and to help the family succeed in an environment seemingly working against them. Her Father’s inspiring story, one relatable to many immigrant parents, drove Lisa to empowerment, breaking through glass ceilings throughout male-dominated working environments, and rising to the top of her field. “No one would want to do business with Dad because of his ethnicity, so he got creative and changed his name to Bob Berkly to get through to them over the phone. Once they met him, they were ‘rudely’ surprised that he was a sensational businessman, and when he got through the door, it was a done deal. Most would say he changed in the environment, but we (his children) saw it as a master class in adapting to your environment to succeed. And well, ‘adapt or die, as they say!”, described Lisa.

Fast-forwarding to 2020, this tenacity to do whatever it takes stood with her after years of external doubt. She draws on years in resilience and Handing solutions to some of the most unfathomable of problems and adapted to the environment as her Dad would, Hnding creative ways to fund her business whilst being driven to create brands that would change the fortunes and the future of the world’s most impoverished. The birth of the Berkeley Group is a testament to the values she holds true to this day, which now has two brands under its belt – Nom Noms and mix technologies (a wellness-focused protective fashion brand) – to further her vision in making serious, long-lasting change.

Future perspective

As for Nom Noms; the biggest goal right now is to give access to their food for millions of people around the world, and they are excited to be launching and partnering with the likes of Walmart, Emirates Flight Catering, Costco, and more. They are ambitious and with all these products sold, they hope to donate 10,000,000 meals to children in need. More products sold means more mouths fed, and that motivates her to grow the business to astronomical heights. They have a vision for technology to disrupt the future of food and are in the process of enabling consumers to measure and track their impact on the children in need, be rewarded for it, and create content connecting them to local experiences from global curators.

Comments on the current industry scenario

When The Tycoon Magazine contacted and asked Lisa about her perspective on the current scenario and Impact of COVID 19 on the ready food industry, she said, “The current Economic and COVID-19 health situation globally has led people to drastically change their grocery and dining habits. Consumers are cooking more, and more often with more mouths to feed, which is taking up more time. Plans to travel and experience different cultures have halted indefinitely. People cannot go out to eat an authentic meal and instead must try to make it at home. Grocery store visits should only happen if essential and ingredient availability has become a game of chance.

The desire to enjoy world cuisine remains high yet caution prevails when ordering through limited restaurants available. That too has become more of a luxury in today’s economic climate, and consumers are choosing not to take that chance, due to the element of human interaction on made-to-order food. What remains true from before all of this happened is that food brands need to cater to what we call, the convenience economy. So to succeed in today’s Food & FMCG landscape, brands need to 9ne-tune their empathy skills and deliver experiences that bring the lost joys of good food, social interaction, and travel, back home. Traditional methods of distribution cannot cater to consumer’s needs fast enough, so brands need to be agile and be accessible in more ways than one. Ultimately, new lifestyles are here to stay, and brands need to be more creative and forward-thinking with regards to how to leverage the current landscape of food.”

Advice to budding entrepreneurs

Lisa advises those who are entering into the world of entrepreneurship to learn not only how to stay the course, but create their own along the way, whilst being guided by a blend of logic and gut feel. “Mind matters, but your gut knows you better, trust it. There’s nothing worse than having regrets of giving up on your vision too early. It will take time, the days will seem extra-long and there will be many sleepless nights. Believe that the answers are out there waiting, believe that life will surprise you again and again. Believe that the journey is the destination, believe you are the greatest project you will ever work on, believe that you can and will make it happen.”

Her story is truly an inspirational one, as with her sheer aspiration to destroy malnutrition, hunger and transform the way our younger generations eat, she is creating a positive impact on the world and revolutionizing convenience food, one Nom Noms at a time.

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The Tycoon Magazine