Nima Sophia Tisdall started her first business venture in high school – now she runs a seafood company praised by Barack Obama
Her name means ‘sunshine’ in Nepalese. She created her first start-up when she was just 16 years old. And now Nima Sophia Tisdall is 25 and has just graduated from CBS. Earlier this year her company Blue Lobster was singled out by former president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, as an inspirational innovator. She learned at a young age that earning money isn’t hard – but creating change is.
It’s not easy to get an interview with Nima Sophia Tisdall, and there’s a good reason for that. After recently graduating from CBS, she’s been busy with her company Blue Lobster. And, being the industrious woman she is, she also organised the annual Refugee Food Festival in June, an event that allows restaurateurs to open their kitchens to refugee chefs in 15 cities around the world.
“It’s difficult for me to keep my hands off several projects at once, so I recently participated in bringing the Refugee Food Festival to Copenhagen for the first time. It went very well: The restaurants were happy to join in, all the tables where sold out and the project gained a lot of support,” Nima Sophia Tisdall says.
But aside from projects such as the Refugee Food Festival, her main focus is Blue Lobster, a digital platform that makes it easier and cheaper for private consumers and restaurants to buy fresh fish directly from local fishermen. And right now, Nima Sophia Tisdall and her partner are working on developing and improving their business.
“Everything’s going quite well at the moment. We’ve just hired our first employee who’s handling the communication with restaurant owners, which is our primary focus right now, and then we’re testing and developing our app,” she says.
At the time, Blue Lobster is working on creating a clientele among local restaurants, but in a few months the service will also be available for private consumers as well.
Praised by The Obama Foundation
Blue Lobster was established last fall, but it didn’t take long before the company gained international attention. That happened this spring when the Obama Foundation selected Blue Lobster as an inspiring company that contributes to creating more sustainability.
On the official website, the foundation created a photo gallery of Nima Sophia Tisdall and her partner Christine Hebert buying fish from a local fisherman in a red cutter at the harbor, and bringing it to a restaurant in Nørrebro where the fish is cooked up into a delicious meal the same day.
“Blue Lobster is redefining the way people enjoy the fruits from the sea – sourcing seafood locally by working with small-scale fishermen whose practices are more sustainable”, it says in the gallery on the Obama Foundation website.
But the recognition from the foundation didn’t stop there. Nima Sophia Tisdall participated in a town hall meeting along with 300 other young selected talents, innovators and entrepreneurs from around Europe, where the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, held a long speech.
Here, he pointed that in order to succeed in contributing to the creation of a better and more sustainable world, he needs future leaders and innovators such as Nima Sophia Tisdall who’ll build up instead of tearing things down.
“It was super interesting and a big experience to listen to Obama’s speech. But it was just as exciting to meet all the other young people who are working on all sorts of cool projects. It was very inspiring, and we got to do some networking across country borders and talk about our different sustainable or social projects, and follow each other’s journeys. So the town hall meeting was a great experience,” Nima Sophia Tisdall says.
For Nima and her partner, the recognition from the Obama Foundation has paid off in terms of the development and success of Blue Lobster.
“It’s helped us to reach more people in different ways. More people have heard of us and want to work with us, and it’s opened a lot of doors to potential partners that were otherwise quite difficult to get through before, so I think it’s given us and our project more credibility,” she says.
Easy to earn money, difficult to make a change
Being an energetic and active entrepreneur interested in contributing to a better world isn’t new for Nima Sophia Tisdall. She’s always been like that, and it’s a part of her nature.
“I started my first company at the age of 16 with a friend from high school. I learned at a very young age that earning money isn’t very difficult. So I thought to myself: ‘What’s more difficult than earning money?’ and then I came to the conclusion that creating change and making a difference seemed much more interesting to me,” she says and continues.
“I’m definitely driven by the idea that the work I do must have a positive effect on the world and the people around me. It’s a very natural thing for me – I’ve always had a desire to get out and create solutions to problems – even if it’s a challenging task, it becomes sort of a sport for me.”
But isn’t the world good enough as it is? Why is it important to make a change?
“There are always opportunities to make the world a better place. Even the smallest things can make a big difference. If we look at it from a larger perspective, I think that we’re going in the right direction with a lot of things. But I think it’s important to focus on specific cases where you can actually make a change, and that’s what we’re aiming at with Blue Lobster,” Nima Sophia Tisdall says.
A valuable experience
In June, Nima Sophia Tisdall graduated from CBS after studying International Business & Politics, and for her, CBS has had a major influence on her Blue Lobster business venture.
“CBS has an amazing network of student organizations, some of which I’ve been part of. And for me, the experience I gained from that has been very valuable and made our work with Blue Lobster a lot easier. Furthermore, CBS does a lot for budding entrepreneurs, and the combination of academic studies and the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship makes it a fantastic university, I think.”