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They said my business idea was impossible − I showed them it wasn’t

Rushina Shah is the co-founder of healthy snack Not.Corn. She was told a number of times that her product was impossible to produce, but she knew there had to be a way.

Gluten-free, vegan and high in fibre, Not.Corn is made from sorghum, an ancient Indian/African grain.

I saw my aunt making a snack that I had never seen before. Standing by the stove, she was popping a grain which wasn’t the traditional corn kernels. Intrigued, I asked her what it was to which she explained that it was a healthier alternative to popcorn.

As she had eaten the popped grain as a small child in India, she was familiar with its amazing benefits.

But my instinct was one of apprehension as I had already seen a number of products which claimed to be ‘healthy’ and were in fact not.

I know that foodies continuously search for healthy alternatives to current snacks so I began making Not.Corn in my kitchen at home. After only a couple of months, they launched and have since been extremely popular.

Rushina Shah started her own business: Not.Corn.

Research, research, research

I became obsessed with learning more about this grain and spoke to experts in India to understand more about it.

I even sent the popped grain for nutritional testing and the staggering result was one that I could not question.

It was then that I decided to develop Not.Corn at home so that I could offer others a genuinely healthy snack and allow them to experience a sense of discovery given that it is the first of its kind in the UK.

Rushina Shah started her own business

Taking the leap

I left my job as a brand manager at Proter & Gamble to set up Not.Corn.

I don’t have one specific role. One day I’m working with the manufacturer to produce new recipes and products and on another, I’m working with a lawyer to draft up shareholder agreements. No two days are the same.

At the age of 14, I set up my own business through a Business Enterprise Scheme.

I sold heat-sensitive mugs which revealed a picture when a hot drink was inside it.

The business was a great success and I made £1,500 profit within a month.

I also organised a charity event at the age of 15, where 1,000 children attended. I made £15,000 for an orphanage in Goa where I opened up a library with the funds that I had raised.

Drive and determination

I have always known that I would eventually start my own business and have always been driven to do so.

I gained the relevant experience that I needed within the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)  industry to learn how to manage and sell a product so that I would have the knowledge to do this for myself.

My proudest moment was securing a contract manufacturer to produce Not.Corn for me. This might seem like a minor accomplishment, but it is extremely difficult to produce Not.Corn as the sorghum grain does not pop in the same way as popcorn. I was faced with a number of contract manufacturers who simply said that it was impossible to produce.

I keep inspired knowing that if I don’t make my business a success, no-one will.

To find out more about Not.Corn, visit: www.notcorn.co.uk

Read more: We are Generation Tribe and our mission is to inspire and empower women and girls

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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