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Spotlight On Chinova’s CEO Natasha Dhayagude, The CANIE 2022 Entrepreneur Of The Year Winner

Natasha Dhayagude, CEO of Chinova Bioworks (Chinova), a Canadian-based natural ingredient company, was awarded the CANIE Entrepreneur Of The Year Award. The CANIE Awards are the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation’s (IEF) chief flagship program recognizing excellence in innovation and foundership across Canada.

The IEF’s CANIE Awards program recognizes and celebrates excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship among racialized and equity-deserving communities throughout the nation. The awards build a network of people and organizations, plus they inspire generations to be leaders through their stories of perseverance and disruption. There are seven categories of CANIE Awards, and winners receive a $10,000 cash prize, an Air Canada travel gift card, plus a promotions video and marketing support for the semi-finalists and winners.

The CANIE Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes trailblazers who demonstrate exceptional leadership and have an ongoing impact on Canadian entrepreneurship.

“Natasha Dhayagude demonstrates superior leadership as co-founder and CEO of Chinova, a company whose mission is to use nature to protect and reduce food waste. Most recently she raised $10.5 million in capital investment from venture capitalists in the food-technology industry,” said Jenn Juby, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation. “As a business leader, she prioritizes equality in her business, with 90% of women hired at Chinova holding STEM positions. These are a few of the reasons why Natasha was a stand-out to the awards adjudication team as winner of the 2022 CANIE Awards Entrepreneur Of The Year.”

Natasha Dhayagude’s vision for Chinova is to add value throughout the supply chain. The company upcycles the stems of white button mushrooms, usually thrown away by farmers, to develop Chiber™, their natural, clean-label preservation ingredient. Manufacturers using Chiber™ (mushroom extract) improve the brands’ quality, freshness, and shelf-life of their finished products. Products containing Chiber™ enable distributors to have longer-lasting finished products, which allows them to expand their global reach and increase food security. Retailers reduce spoilage costs with products containing Chinova’s mushroom extract, which enables brands to provide consumers with natural, healthy, clean-label products resulting in reduced food waste.

“Thank you to the sponsor Ownr and the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation for naming me the 2022 CANIE Awards Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. Being included with the other great entrepreneurial finalists is a privilege,” said Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and Co-founder of Chinova Bioworks. “When I started this adventure with my co-founder, David Brown, we were excited to combine our love of science and mushrooms to develop a natural, clean-label food and beverage ingredient that could reduce food waste. Seeing others find our work as groundbreaking as we do is truly amazing. ”

IEF hosted three in-person events this year to celebrate winners from coast to coast, and is hosting their Virtual Awards Gala, scheduled to air at 6 PM EST on November 16, 2022.

About Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation
Founded in 2019, the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation (IEF) is a charity that aspires to support small and medium sized business (SMB) founders and innovators from racialized and equity-deserving communities across Canada. Their mission is to advocate for, support, educate, and celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship among under-represented business owners as they navigate the unfair barriers of institutional, structural, and interpersonal biases.

About Natasha Dhaygude
Natasha Dhayagude is Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Member at Chinova Bioworks. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of New Brunswick and spent the early part of her career immersing herself with entrepreneurs and start-ups at Planet Hatch and Venture for Canada. There she gained vital skills such as building business models and fundraising to ensure optimal success when she co-founded Chinova Bioworks. Ms. Dhayagude also serves as the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) Board Member.

• Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2017)
• Startup Canada’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year (2019)
• Atlantic Business top 30 under 30 (2019)
• Thrive Female Founder Award (2021)
• CANIE Award Entrepreneur Of The Year (2022)
• RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Innovation Award Finalist (2022)

About Chinova Bioworks:
Chinova Bioworks started in 2016 with the mission of using nature to protect and reduce food waste. The company developed a natural fiber extract from the stems of white button mushrooms to make stable, broad-spectrum preservation ingredients that protect products from spoilage caused by yeast, mold, and harmful bacteria. Their ingredients are natural, healthy, and integrate seamlessly into various foods and beverages during processing. This technology enables manufacturers and lab operators to improve their finished products’ quality, freshness, and shelf-life, resulting in increased consumer satisfaction for using natural, clean label ingredients, all while reducing food waste. The company has raised $10.5M in investment with a team representing 90% of women in STEM.

Through sustainable practices and upcycling, Chinova plays a crucial role in making the food and beverage industry happier, healthier, and better for the environment.

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