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Middle Eastern Princess Invests in Vegan Cheese Startup

Princess Arwa Al Qassimi was inspired to fund female-owned Wegan Foods to empower women worldwide.

Mumbai-based vegan startup Wegan Foods received an undisclosed capital investment from United Arab Emirates’ royal family member Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi. The investment will go toward bringing the company’s first product—a soy-free vegan cheese—to market in Mumbai via food delivery platforms and eventually in retail spaces. “Being a passionate vegan and health enthusiast myself,” Wegan Foods’ founder Kinjal Darukhanawala said, “I realized that there are very few local vegan pantry staples available in India. Our products will address a growing market of vegans and people who may want to choose a healthier dietary lifestyle.” The princess said her investment was influenced by the company’s mission to empower women. “I was impressed with the fact that [Darukhanawala] plans to have a 90 percent women workforce by hiring from organizations that groom and empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds,” the princess said. “This is the biggest motivation for me. Globally, I have been an advocate for women’s rights and see this investment as a step in that direction.” In addition to vegan cheese, Darukhanawala plans to develop other vegan staples and expand the company’s distribution channels to include airlines, hotels, coffee shops, catering services, and restaurants.

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