Ceo & Founder Gita nominated for most promising female entrepreneur

After 10 years of experience in HR and Sales Management, Gita in 2015 decided to start her own business. Chalo is a hip & happening food brand that sells Funky Feel Good Food & Beverages. The mission is to lower the threshold to healthier food and to inspire consumers to discover ingredients and recipes from other cultures. Beanworks Seeds & Grains is a trading company specializing in the trade of bio-certified legumes, grains, bakery products and superfoods. Gita and her partner form a complementary duo that provides opportunities to and manages a team of 16 enthusiastic employees. Intrapreneurship is stimulated enormously at both companies.

How did your entrepreneurial story begin?

At age thirty I returned for the first time to my home country India to do one month of voluntary work at the orphanage where I myself stayed as a baby for 1.5 years. While on this trip, I discovered the nice hot Chai, a spicy drink based on black tea, herbs, milk and a bit of sugar. A real tradition in India! For us, the volunteers, it was literally a cup of comfort to briefly forget the poverty and images of suffering. When I returned to Belgium, I could not find a single drink with the same distinct, spicy flavour. Why wouldn’t I get it to market myself? That was the start of my business idea. I developed my idea and presented it at the Bizidee Business Plan competition. After some more fine-tuning and extensive market research, I took the plunge…and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Our very first exhibition participation was nothing short of legendary. With a few samples, a homemade logo, an improvised stall, and full of enthusiasm, we went to Amsterdam to give the market connoisseurs a taste of our product. We were very excited! Quite unexpectedly, we got everyone’s attention, our passion was very well received, and so we took our first pre-orders, 4 months sooner than expected. Today, we distribute our products in 23 countries, and have set up 2 offices abroad (US and Dubai).

What do you still hope to achieve in the next few years?

We believe strongly in the switch to healthier food and the coffee culture, and want to continue to focus fully on that. Together with our top team, we seek to inspire people worldwide and to build a nice community. Our short- and medium-term goals include further expansion, our own Coffee & Tea Academy and the opening of a Funky Feel Good Food coffee bar with a franchise concept for other countries. Last but not least, it is also our desire to start a good cause of our own on the tea plantations in India and to continue supporting the International Women in Coffee Association to strengthen women’s empowerment in our society.

What is your entrepreneurial motto?

Think carefully, set a deadline for yourself, and chart your own course. Also, I believe strongly in seeing and seizing opportunities and collaborating. Just do it and persevere – that is the most important thing in entrepreneurship!