Desautels students are behind some of the most meaningful social enterprises
Natasha Sakina Alani
MBA'17 & CEO of Kiffin
As a play on the word Tiffin, Kiffin is a start-up company that caters hot and nutritious low-cost meals that are packaged and delivered in reusable containers. However, founder and CEO of Kiffin, Natasha Sakina Alani prefers to refer to the company as a social enterprise, rather than a typical catering company.
The idea of using Tiffin boxes comes from Natasha’s cultural roots. Tiffins are stainless steel lunchboxes that are durable and traditionally used to deliver fresh homemade food to office workers in India. When the Alani family had to move from Dallas to Uganda, this transition often left them hungry. It was at this time that her father asked their neighbors to sell them food with tiffin boxes.
“It’s my two cultures – African and Indian – coming together in a company that I hope will be the one that brings disparate people together, and makes cities healthier.”
Kiffin was first launched in San Francisco in 2013 and has since relocated to Montreal upon Natasha’s decision to pursue her MBA degree at the the Desautels Faculty of Management. It was at Desautels that Natasha was introduced to the guidance and services that the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship offered. As a participant in the X-1 Accelerator Program in 2017, Natasha has been able to take her business venture to the next level, while also garnering support and mentorship from leading industry experts.
Along with her husband, five employees, and many volunteers, Natasha’s ultimate goal is to build a community around Kiffin, offer training and jobs to the disadvantaged in Montreal, and to support similar businesses and objectives.
The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship has launched over 125 successful start-ups, 80% of which are Montreal-based. The mission is to find, teach, and develop excellent entrepreneurs at McGill. The Dobson Centre also integrates professorial entrepreneurship teaching and research at Desautels with entrepreneurial practice to foster the skills required to launch innovative ventures with a purpose.