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28 Feb 2024


From homemade spice blends to market success: Neda’s journey of entrepreneurship in Australia

Indian-born and raised, Neda, made the leap to start her own business two years ago.

Indian-born and raised, Neda, made the leap to start her own business two years ago.

Driven by her passion for authentic Indian food and her desire for independence, she embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.

In 2009 Neda and her husband migrated from India to Australia.

Despite a successful career in India and holds a degree in Commerce in accounting and marketing, Neda struggled to secure a job in her field in Australia and instead worked in a contact centre for many years.

This is a reality for many educated migrant and refugee women, who find themselves employed in positions below their level of education and expertise.

Neda knew she had greater aspirations. “I’m someone who loves to take on challenges. I’ve always been ambitious,” she said.

The idea of creating her own business selling ready-made spice blends had lingered in her thoughts for years.

Neda explained how in Indian culture food brings families together. She recalled, “Growing up in India, we didn’t have much money, but our bellies were always full of food from a home-cooked nourishing meal.”

When Neda came to Australia, she noticed the store-bought spices did not do justice to the original flavours. She began making her spice blends from scratch, utilising recipes handed down through generations.

“The idea to start a business came to me from my challenge of preparing nutritious home-made meals for my family with a lack of time to cook from scratch,” she said.

Neda wanted to help home cooks with hassle-free yet authentic Indian cooking in their kitchens.

In search of a sounding board and seeking validation, she shared her business idea with a friend.

Her friend responded with uncertainty, casting doubt on Neda’s ideas and confidence.

Years later, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a workplace injury forced Neda out of her job.

At home and injured, she fell into a depression.

“With young kids to care for, I felt the pressure to contribute financially to support my young family,” Neda said.

Neda felt more compelled than ever by the idea of being independent and self-employed.

“I realised that it should be me who decides what I want to do. I do not need validation from other people who may not see my vision yet,” she said.

“My mum came to Australia during that time and as we talked, I shared my entrepreneurial idea with her, and she encouraged me to take the first giant leap,” Neda said. “My mother was always supportive of everything I do.”

In 2022, Neda began working on her product, established Bombay Spices and started selling it at local Victorian farmers’ markets.

“Engaging with people at the markets made me happy and confident. I knew it was the right path,” she said.

Neda’s husband was initially uncertain about the idea because he wanted her to focus on her injury recovery.

“It took some time, but he eventually came on board and now he sees my vision and is very supportive,” Neda said.

Neda now offers a range of eight different spice blends and has garnered a loyal following from market customers who eagerly wait each week to purchase their favourite spice blends.

Neda gives a lot of credit to the resources and start-up programs that have helped her along the way. This year, she began working with the Ignite small business start-up Female Founders to get her business to the next step.

“If you believe in yourself and your vision, you can use the resources available to you to get where you want to go,” she explained.

“We may not always have the support of our family or friends when we need it most. However, you need to take that first step and others will join you on your journey,” Neda said.

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