Heena Khakhdia of BioGreenChoice
Heena Khakhdia started BioGreenChoice in response to the exceptional waste produced within the healthcare industry. By creating packaging using sugarcane and cornstarch, BioGreenChoice is aiming to seriously curb the growth of ever-engorging landfills with products to accommodate any number of uses, as all items are 100 percent compostable and biodegradable.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I have my background in healthcare. I possess an MBA in Healthcare Systems Administration and I have worked in various management roles for hospitals for many years. In 2007-08, I was doing my administrative fellowship with a Dayton-based hospital system, and while doing my rotations in various departments in the hospital, I noticed tremendous waste in the system, particularly related with plastics and styrofoam packaging. I shared my serious concerns about solid waste in the healthcare industry to my husband, who is a PhD research scientist. Due to his scientific background, he was very much aware of the environmental and health issues associated with styrofoam and plastics, and how to develop sustainable alternative packaging solutions.
We both became very passionate about developing biodegradable and compostable products that can help the environment and human health. In order to help our communities, we launched our company in 2008. After years of research and development, we developed over 100 best quality and 100 percent compostable and biodegradable products. We successfully launched our sustainable product line, BioGreenChoice, in 2011. All of our products are made from sustainable materials, such as cornstarch and sugarcane. They are certified by Biodegradable Products Institute
, and they degrade in 90 days in commercial composting facilities.
How did you start your business?
We started our company by ourselves with 100 percent ownership interest and through our savings.
What local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We have lots of great organizations and help that are available in our community for startup high potential businesses. We have been grateful to receive all the support and help, and took full advantage of all available resources and mentoring. When we were planning to launch our product line, BioGreenChoice, in 2011, we received a developmental grant from Third Frontier Comission
through Dayton Development Coalition
. Most of our marketing, legal and technical expenses were covered through this grant. We also received technical support from Tech Solve
in Cincinnati. We got lots of developmental help through organizations such as The Entrepreneur Center
. Last but not least, we became an active member of The Green Umbrella
. All of these organizations have played important roles in establishing our company and making our products very successfully in the market.
What would you do differently if you started your business again?
I truly believe that focus is the key to success. We launched our business in 2008, but we could not work full time with our business until 2011 due to our full-time jobs and young family. This delayed our product launch for two years. If I were to start my business again, I would provide my full focus on developing my business and would launch our products sooner in the market.
What’s next for you and your company?
Our first launch of high quality, biodegradable and compostable tableware products have been very well received in the market. However, we feel that it was our first successful step toward the green journey. Due to our healthcare and scientific backgrounds, we have unique understandings of challenges that organizations and communities face in achieving their sustainable goals. We truly believe that we can contribute a lot more in shaping the sustainable future of our communities and country. Innovation is one of the fundamental values of BioGreenChoice. So our next steps are to develope cutting edge innovative technologies to provide complete green solutions.
Interview by Sean Peters