A Leap of Courage: Shelina Mawani on her journey in becoming a successful businesswoman

For the longest time, Shelina Mawani was stuck. Like a toy that repeats the same action again and again, Mawani was stuck in a cycle of hurt over her lack of success in getting her business off the ground. She did not know how to get out of this box full of hurt.   

But when she stopped resisting the hurt and accepted it as part of her journey, Mawani was able to rise above.

“Honour your scars as they have made you who you are today.”

Known as the “Samosa Queen,” Mawani is the owner of Nana’s Kitchen, a small restaurant specialising in home-made samosas operating out of Surrey, British Columbia. Earning prominent awards for her work both in the business world and in the community, Mawani’s journey to success wasn’t easy.

In the new book Women of Worth, Shelina Mawani pens a moving chapter about her struggles in starting her very successful business Nana’s Kitchen. In her chapter “A Leap of Courage,” Mawani is not shy in embracing her failures and her short-sightedness during the early years of her business career. She is welcoming of the failures that came before, making her truly fearless and a force to be reckoned with in the business industry.

Mawani poignantly emphasizes the importance of accepting one’s failures and need for collaboration. In an interview with Voices of Muslim Women, Mawani candidly talked about the significance of being honest with yourself.

“I was afraid to say that I'm not doing well,” said Mawani. “I think that was my main fear for not writing the book as well.”

Once Mawani let go of her fear and opened herself to collaboration, things started to fall into place. Her business bloomed. She attributes this success to the people around her.

“You could have a million-dollar idea and it still won’t work unless you have the best people working towards it,” said Mawani.

Growing up as a Tanzanian and Indian woman in London, England, Mawani also emphasised the importance of giving back to the community. Mawani lives by her father’s words, “living for yourself is not living.” In this vein, Mawani focuses on using her platform to train people, especially women.

“Every woman is of worth. We just need to provide support to explore that,” said Mawani.

Mawani believes that women are making tremendous progress, especially women of colour. But there is need to work on changing the mindset of the people as we move forward. She does this by engaging in public speaking and giving back to the community as often as possible.

“What I wrote is nothing new. Everybody goes through it. Everybody needs help,” said Mawani. “It’s just about talking about it and then, getting out of it.”


Read her chapter “A Leap of Courage” in Women of Worth. VMW is giving her three copies of the book. Head over to our Instagram to participate in the giveaway and win a copy of Women of Worth now!

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