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Women in Innovation: Manjula Mishra & Amrita Burman

"There are chances of losing tradition and heritage if we don’t innovate."

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries. This week we spoke to Manjula Mishra & Amrita Burman, Co-Founders of Simply Lentils.

What are you working on?

Our project was born out of the desire to reduce our carbon footprints, contribute to the local Australian economy and rely on sustainable food sources. We dug deep within ourselves to find answers for these challenges and we didn’t have to go far enough as coming from an Indian background we just had to look at how we grew up to find the answers.

Born and raised in India we have grown up eating pulses/lentils in a variety of interesting ways. They are a great source of fibre, protein and other micronutrients. Living a busy lifestyle, as much as we miss our traditional recipes, they are time consuming to prepare. Knowing the vast range of benefits of lentils/pulses, we wanted to reduce the time taken to cook them and create interesting recipes backed by our Indian food tradition and present them on everyone’s plate. Simply Lentils™ brings to you a variety of Lentil premixes which have been created using Indian traditional recipes.

We have done the hard work of creating premixes so that you can enjoy tasty and nutritious snacks and meals with minimal effort. We bring Lentils on your plate in a simple and unique way you had never imagined before!

Why is innovation important to you?

Change is the only constant in this world and innovation represents change. We believe innovation to be the catalyst of change and the only true path to discover opportunities and make things better.

There are chances of losing tradition and heritage if we don’t innovate. For example our traditional recipes are getting lost because people don’t have time to prepare them. Innovation for us is a way of preserving tradition using modern methods and technology.

The innovation that we are bringing in the food culture also involves educating people about the possibilities of lentils on your plate as it has not been done in Australia before. We are using our innovative product not only to preserve our cultural heritage but also as a means of cross-cultural education. We are very mindful of this but we have taken up this challenge because we firmly believe in the outcomes which we want to achieve.

What drives you to make a difference?

We both believe that we are here in this world with a purpose and it is to make a difference in the lives of people around us in a positive way. The desire to fulfil our purpose drives us to make a difference. Also, the fact that we want to leave this world in a better shape for our future generations drives us toward our purpose.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
  • A true act of courage is taking the first step and putting ourselves out there. Be fearless and trust in yourself. Don’t wait for others to validate your talents, just take the leap of faith!
  • We have just one life so do the things you truly want to do and live a life of no regrets.
  • Courage is contagious, every time we choose courage we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.
  • If you have an idea which you are truly passionate about, nourish and nurture it and bring it to life because Women are blessed with the gift of creating life!
What are you proud of right now?

We are very proud to have come a long way in a very short span of time. Being at the Idea stage in August 2020, we launched in Dec 2020 and now we are on the menu of a Brew Bar- Greenway and selling through multiple channels (Global sisters website/local stockists) and also Haigh Park Village Sunday Market. We were proud sponsors of Indian Republic Day celebration hosted by India Australia Association of Canberra (IAAC).

We have received a very warm reception by everyone and that makes us feel so happy to be living in a country like Australia. The multiculturalism here is very unique and people have accepted us as their own even when we are different and unique.

Our friends, colleagues and people we have met through networking have been very generous with their time, advice and wallets! At the end of the day, it comes down to the people and the genuine connections which we have made over the short span of time we have been in existence.

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