Meet the two sisters who turned to entrepreneurship to tackle our food system challenges
Growing up, sisters Nadia and Sophie Hanessian didn’t know they would end up founding and jointly running a smart food startup. But they did already share a common outlook on the world – one based on sustainability, social justice and a commitment to tackling key environmental issues. It was this that inspired the siblings to take the leap into entrepreneurship side by side, eager to tackle the most pressing food system challenges.
Tell us a bit about the people behind the Vege’tables team.
Hello, we’re Sophie and Nadia Hanessian, co-founders of Vege’tables! Nadia, our CEO, has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in international management. She’s worked in different roles in both the technology and the higher education industries, specialising in project management and consulting. Sophie, our COO, holds a Brevet fédéral in human resources, as well as a CAS in management and has worked in several large companies in Switzerland, developing her expertise in the different aspects of HR. We are now full-time impact entrepreneurs using everything we’ve learnt to tackle the social and environmental challenges we face.
Describe what Vege’tables does in a sentence or two.
Vege’tables provides consulting, training and catering services to companies, organisations, restaurants and individuals. We’re all about Smart Food: food that is healthy, ethical and sustainable – usually whole foods, and always 100% plant-based.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
We love turning ideas into reality – and thankfully that is what entrepreneurship is all about! We really relish engaging with people, be it our Veggies’ team, clients, partners or event participants. We love talking to others to raise awareness of the impact of our food choices on our health and the environment, and to provide concrete solutions in the process.
What key milestones have you hit so far?
In two years, Vege’tables has developed from an idea to a concrete project – and has been a registered company with a growing portfolio of clients, partners and services since summer 2022! In the final quarter of 2022, we catered for numerous events and delivered several conferences and team-building activities for large organisations as part of their health and sustainability programmes.
What projects are you and your team working on at the moment?
We’re currently developing new smart cooking courses and consulting services for professional chefs and restaurants to help them to broaden their skills and make high-quality and delicious smart food available on every menu.
In parallel, we’re running several online and offline projects to grow our reach and offer practical resources and tools to organisations and individuals to help them to actively reduce their carbon footprint through their food choices.
How do you collaborate and support others in the ecosystem?
Co-creation is at the core of our business. We’ve developed (and keep developing!) partnerships with like-minded businesses, associations and academics to advance our mission of making Smart Food desirable and accessible to all. We’re always happy to explore new collaborations, as well as to provide advice and share knowledge with others. We can organise events, as well as provide resources, activities and training to help organisations of all sizes develop their health and sustainability strategy. We also offer smart cooking training to professional cooks and individuals.
What support could the Valley community offer to further your work?
As we are in the early growth stage, Vege’tables would definitely benefit from the Valley’s connections to develop new partnerships and our client base. We’re also looking for sponsors to allow us to run and consolidate our free public programmes for individuals and look forward to inviting some Valley partners on board.
Tell us something we don’t know about your company.
Vege’tables is very much a family business! We (Nadia and Sophie) are sisters who decided to turn to entrepreneurship to address the social and environmental challenges caused by our food system. Fun fact: can you guess who is the elder sister? There’s a four years age gap between us, but most people can’t figure out which way round!
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