Vegan Entrepreneur who is empowering vegans worldwide and aims to be at the forefront of healthcare.
Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Meet this entrepreneur from UK who is driving meaningful change in the healthcare sector by bringing together science and philosophy for healthier living in this new age. Through this unique combination her company envisions to improve physical health and mental well-being in the society by providing plant based dietary advice and personalised nutrition which is sustainable.
Meet Ellie Busby founder of “Vojo Health”, Ellie is a passionate lover of science, logic and philosophy who is on a journey to redefine health and diet which will drive healthy and sustainable lifestyle for people by understanding the human genetic data and providing plant based diet and solutions which will foster overall health and well-being. Vojo Health personalizes plant-based diet with your DNA and lifestyles so you know exactly what you need. Beyond this she holds a bigger vision, she aims to make plant-based dietary advice and personalised nutrition to be at the front line of preventative healthcare within the next five years. Isn’t that a powerful vision which will make our planet healthier.
Ellie’s love for this unique combination of science and philosophy makes her a great visionary. It is said that vision is the art of seeing invisible. Ellie’s journey of envisioning the invisible began about a decade ago when she was living in a Buddhist Monastery, that experience of staying at the mystic monastery changed her life and mindset completely.
“After that experience I knew I could never go back to consuming animal products,” she says.
Soon she converted her love for vegan into a business idea and founded a vegan pizzeria which she ran for couple of years, just around that time she found herself at yet another cross road where she discovered that she had developed nutrient related deficiencies. She solved this problem of nutrient deficiency through a personalized nutrition using her genetic data, little did she know that this turning point would take her into yet another business venture, it gave birth to her current business Vojo Health.
“Our vision is to help as many people as possible thrive on a healthy and sustainable plant-based diet,” she says.
People with great passion can make the impossible happen.
Ellie had a drive within her to learn and dive deep into understanding human DNA and how vegan dietary food can be personalised which will enable people to develop a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, alongside it will also contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint. Her immense passion and her own journey towards healthy lifestyle inspired her to pursue a Masters Degree in Nutrition, and with immense hardwork, zeal and dedication she completed her masters degree a semester earlier which will help her to conduct research and plan for her venture Vojo Health in the last semester.
“Initially it was slow but exciting - pulling together all the evidence and designing the algorithm... this is the kind of stuff I love,” she says.
Every business goes through ups and downs especially during the initial days and the growth curve moves up at a slower pace, that was the exact similar scene in case of Ellie’s business too. But her love for science and her passion for designing the algorithms made her initial days very exciting and kept her going. She learnt the tips and techniques of the healthcare industry and overcame her fears. “At the beginning I was also very worried about 'saying the wrong thing' or offending people online with my social media posts etc. Some vegans can be quite opinionated and feisty... but I quickly learnt you can't please everyone. Some people are always looking for a fight, no matter how much you're trying to do the 'right thing',” she adds.
Drive to make a Positive Impact and Meaningful Difference.
Vojo Heath was born out of Ellie’s personal health journey towards healthier lifestyle and with her immense hardwork and determination she leaves no stone unturned in taking it to new heights with each passing day. We all are aware that eating a plant-based diet improves the health of our gut and supports build a healthy immune system, it is the best diet one can have which also reduces the carbon foot print.
“Studies also show non-communicable diseases are preventable through diet and lifestyle - namely by reducing meat consumption, following a more plant-based diet and through personalised, evidence-based nutrition,” she says.
Ellie has defined Vojo Health’s business philosophy which is derived after lot of research. She shares top 3 objectives which are key to her business and aims to create a positive impact.
Improving the physical health and mental well-being of our society.
Increasing productivity of aging members of society as a plant-based diet can 'delay the aging process, decrease age-associated co-morbidities and mortality, and increase life expectancy' (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2020).
Reducing the carbon footprint of the UK's average diet (IPCC, 2019).
Going one more step further Ellie has a bigger vision beyond this, she envisions Vojo Health to be at the front line of preventative healthcare within the next five years by providing
plant-based dietary advice and personalised nutrition to her customer. She is driving this change by conducting personalised genetic data analysis of individuals and providing healthy balanced solutions which will help them sustain into this journey towards being vegan.
Ellie is a self-motivated person who is extremely passionate about her work and is dedicatedly working towards taking Vojo Health to next level. As she puts together the building blocks for her business, she has laid a very strong foundation for her business. Before she founded Vojo Health she dedicated herself in conducting deep research into finding and documenting all the scientific evidence, she spent days and months writing the online health consultation to ensure that she gathered all the right information from users and designed algorithm to bring together user questionnaire. She was committed to find the trust worthy laboratories and suppliers who can deliver great quality results and soon developed a prototype with the help of developers. She didn’t stop there, she also spent a lot of time on social media and learnt the techniques for marketing and advertising. Her grit and resilience kept her going through the initial days which demanded immense amount of hardwork. The results were not visible to her straight after but she believed in her business idea and her efforts.
Challenges are stepping stones to success.
Talking about challenges
“Wow... there have been so many challenges,” she says.
Every business encounters various challenges but it is the entrepreneur who with their positive attitude and never give up mindset turns every challenge into opportunities, and creates a masterpiece which will create a much bigger positive impact on the society. Ellie overcame each and every challenge and displayed resilience at each and every stage of growth. She implemented her ideas fearlessly and she knew she was in her own control which gave her the wings to keep flying high. Talking about few top challenges she faced she says, “The first biggest challenge has probably been finding developers and figuring out the best way to build the application. I have no technical knowledge of any of this stuff, but luckily I've met a lot of amazing people along the way on my journey who wanted to contribute to the vision and have helped a lot”.
The second biggest challenge was “Choosing the right lab and suppliers was also difficult. I had to make compromises in various areas, such as choosing a more minimal swab which has less plastic but the risk of a poor unusable sample is slightly higher,’ she adds.
Vojo Vision for a Holistic Health and Healthy Lifestyle.
Ellie’s future plan for Vojo Health in her own words. “I just started a new business accelerator called Impact Central - so for the next 6 months I'm really focusing on building up my business with the positive impact on society’s health and our planet’s future at the core of everything we do. This is alongside building the full application from the ground up - which I will be looking for investment for during the next 3 months too. It's going to be a busy time," she says.
“On top of this I will be launching Vojo Mind. It will be a branch of Vojo which personalises your diet and lifestyle to help people manage their mental health – especially important during these difficult times. There is so much evidence for utilising nutrition and genetics to improve people's mental health - and I don't want all this science to go to waste," she adds.
Along side she also aims to improve the mental health and well being. Vojo Health's 3 main long term objectives are:
1. Increase the number of people transitioning to and maintaining a more plant-based diet. 84% of people who try a plant-based diet give up within the first year, 53% due to health issues.
2. Help users achieve their weight goals through a plant-based diet. In 2018/19, 11,117 hospital admissions directly attributable to obesity. The majority of UK adults are overweight or obese; 67% of men and 60% of women.
3. Improve the mental well-being of our users compared to the general population. 1 in every 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in any given year. 41% of the population are now at risk of mental health disorders since the COVID crisis.
Ellie’s advice to Entrepreneurs
“SPEAK TO PEOPLE”- “I spent a lot of time researching (I'm a scientist) and forgot about the people who I was researching for. But they are obviously the most important. Make sure you're doing what they need - not what you think they need,” she says.
Know More about Ellie
What is your business philosophy- What’s the worst that could happen?!
When I face a big challenge- Reaching out is important. I usually work harder alone, but I'm trying to get into the habit of asking for help. My greatest fear is- Not having the impact I want to have. The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is- Hm... Probably dive to 40m underwater without air. I used to be scared of deep water, which is why I dedicated 6 months of my life to training free-diving. I didn't want to get into the habit of avoiding things I'm scared of. If I could go back in time to when I was 20 I would tell myself- Take all the opportunities which come your way. But don't expect your friends and family to be around forever! I believe in- Humans doing the right thing. I believe everyone is intrinsically good, but our world separates us and distracts us from the things which are important. The biggest lesson I have ever learned is- You can't do anything alone. People and connections are everything. My favourite business tool or resource is- Actually I've recently gone back to a pen and paper. I've been through a lot of tools, Trello for example, to help me organise business stuff, but in the end writing things down on paper is so different somehow. My favourite quote is- “Once you know what the question is, you'll know what the answer means.” — Douglas Adams. Basically, all the answers are already out there. It’s asking the right question which matters.
We wish Ellie and Vojo Health heaps of success. If you wish to know more about Ellie and Vojo or wish to avail their services please visit www.vojo.health