Shelina Mawani, the Co-Founder of Nana’s Kitchen and Hot Sauces Ltd was recognized for her community work and honored with a prestigious award at The NRI World Summit in London, United Kingdom.
NRI Institute, a non-profit NGO, celebrated the 30th year of connecting Indian Diaspora, and organized an award ceremony on October 26, 2018, at the House of Lords in London, United Kingdom. The NRI World Summit – Bharat Samman Global Leader Award 2018 was conferred upon Shelina in presence of other decorated leaders at the House of Lords London, the second chamber of UK Parliament.
BHARAT SAMMAAN AWARDS are being conferred on a group of select Persons of Indian Origin living in India and abroad for their outstanding achievements in the chosen field of activities for the contribution to the socio-economic development of India along with the country of their adoption.
The award was given to NRIs from 14 countries, including Shelina, who was the only Canadian Woman honored as a global leader for promoting heritage and entrepreneurship. This was indeed a special moment as the award was presented to Shelina for surpassing exceptional standards in her business and community engagements. Shelina was recognized for her of selfless service to the community.
Behind every successful man, there is a woman, but this saying stands not only for the success of men but for the functioning of the whole world. Shelina Mawani was born and raised on the shores of Lake Victoria, Mwanza in East Africa. After managing a series of motels back home for her father, Shelina Mawani moved to Canada in 1983. Being a lifelong businesswoman, in the year 2000, Shelina and her sister Nasim established Nana’s Kitchen. Growing up in a South Asian community without the divisions between different South Asian races that she saw here, led Shelina to want to bridge that divide through her food. Shelina wants the whole South Asian community to be united, interacting and celebration as a single community.
She has watched her company grow from a small family restaurant business to a manufacturing business through North America and chains across Canada. Nana’s kitchen products meet the product quality and food safety standards as required by CFIA, USDA, HACCP and BRC Programs. Nana’s food with a global taste is being sold all the mainstream grocery stores (Superstore, Save On Foods, etc.) and in hospitality, Pubs and restaurants across North America. Their food is being sold to 5000 grocery retail and food service.
Nana’s Kitchen’s mission is to become a household name and they are on their way to that becoming a reality because of the high quality of their Samosas. Their quality is premium and gourmet, especially compared to what is available in the market today and people pay for the quality. They stick to a higher quality of samosa, not the quantity. Their high-quality samosas are more than three times bigger than a typical samosa, with more filling and less pastry than their competitors. They also have smaller sized samosas as well. The quality of the samosas go through lots of checks (heat, temperature, expiry dates) to assure high quality and it makes a difference you can taste. Roughly 30,000 samosas are being made by hand every day, in seven different flavors along with mango date chutneys which are sold in bulk two-liter jars in select grocery stores. They have also just introduced chimichangas.
As a proud supporter of women’s empowerment Shelina’s employees are largely women from foreign countries with minimum English language skills. She says her employees are her backbone, and she wants her employees to grow as the company grows. She is a proud and successful employer who defines her success by sharing her employees’ growth from ground zero to managerial position.
Becoming the accomplished woman, she is today started in her youth and in 1979 she became a chairperson of lioness club. She has since opened the orphanage back home and Shelina was invited to speak for the women’s economic forum in New Delhi about empowering women to believe in themselves and not give up and spoke at Agakhan Alliance in Toronto about the failure to success. She won the woman of the decade award in 2016 in Delhi. In October 2018 she was awarded Bharat Samman Award, where 14 countries were involved. Shelina takes part in a lot of community events to promote the community.
She reveals her secret of success, as the three C’s – conversation, collaboration, and celebration. “We all have at least one million-dollar idea lurking inside of us. To execute that idea, you need somebody for you so, never be afraid to look outside for help. Don’t be afraid to come out, network and share your ideas. Once you succeed that stage then, every walk of life you would say it’s a day of celebration,” says Shelina.
She also feels proud to give credits for her success in the US market to her husband as he played a major role in building the market from zero to what they are today. Shelina says while she was struggling with her business and through the ups and downs to success, her children grew up without her. She stresses the importance of spending time with your family and kids, and to not ignore anything important on the road to success. She feels lucky that her kids are doing well and that they tell her that she has worked hard for them. A message she has for entrepreneurs is to do your research before you do anything, be humble, no stress, no ego, even in difficult times, spend time on yourself and family, love and laugh, change your attitude and always listen to your customer.
Behind every successful man there is a woman, but behind Shelina’s success, she gives credit to her sister and husband, along with her family and staff.