EP (20) Komal Ahmad: Tackling food waste with an inventive idea designed to end the world's dumbest problem - hunger.

 

Are you one to think that some of the world's biggest problems are unsolvable?

Well, I'm fairly certain that Komal Ahmad would strongly disagree.

This female powerhouse is an entrepreneur and change-maker, who believes hunger to be the world's 'dumbest' problem and she's come up with an inventive way to address this huge issue.

Introducing Copia (formerly Feeding Forward). Where sharing excess food has never been easier.

According to their site, the technology that they created allows businesses to receive a tax-write off and a reduction in disposal costs for providing meals to communities in need.

All you have to do (once you've downloaded the app) is post your surplus food. Track Copia's drivers (which are also known as food hero's). And you can see your impact, by receiving profiles of the people you've fed and your bottom line.

So far they've recovered over 830K pounds of food. Fed 691K people. And saved companies 4.6 million dollars. And they're just getting started, as they're currently only serving the San Francisco Bay area.

The idea for Copia came to Ahmad when she was an Undergraduate student at The University California Berkeley. She was walking down the street when she was approached by a homeless man asking for money to buy some food.

One of Copia's Food Hero's (formerly Feeding Forward)

One of Copia's Food Hero's (formerly Feeding Forward)

Copia Staff Members and Komal (CEO)

Copia Staff Members and Komal (CEO)

Instead of giving him money, she offered to take him to lunch and quickly found out that he was an Iraq war veteran. His benefits hadn't yet kicked in, he had just been evicted and he didn't have any family to lean on. Plus he hadn't eaten in three days.

This struck a chord with Ahmad, as she was studying to become a naval doctor upon graduation and here was a man struggling, who had just served his country.

It just didn't add up.

And right across the street from where they were eating, she realized that the University's cafeteria was throwing away thousands of pounds of food per day.

She knew there had to be a solution. And so, Feeding Forward launched in 2011 at UC Berkeley and it's now morphed into a for-profit company that uses technology and logistical genius to address the issue of hunger in America and eventually, the world.

Some Questions I asked:

  • Have you always been a huge visionary and idealist?
  • What did you know about the issue of hunger in America before starting Feeding Forward (now Copia)?
  • How does Copia work?
  • What are the benefits of working with your company?
  • How did you manage to get around the barriers of giving food to charities - because there seems to be a lot of specific requirements?
  • You say 'hunger' is the world's dumbest problem - what's your big vision?
  • What did people say when you first took on this huge goal?
  • How do you plan on expanding your offerings?
  • And so much more

What You'll Learn: 

  • Where Komal was raised and how they affected her outlook on homelessness and hunger
  • The most unglamorous thing of being an entrepreneur, that most people don't even realize
  • Why she plans on surrounding herself with more 'bad-ass' women in 2017 and how that's helped her along this journey
  • Her biggest highlight of 2017 - you'll never guess it
  • Her big five year goal for Copia
  • Why failure was/is never an option for her
  • Her big concern moving forward (hint: this may be political)
  • How she stays grounded
  • Why she's always "on" - no matter if she's on vacation or not
  • And her tips on how to lead a team and stay inspired to do great work
  • Plus tons more 

Other links:

connect with copia

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | LINKEDIN

 

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