Amina GilaniAmina Gilani, Co-founder and COO, Sociavore.Inc (MEDI’18, Economic Development and Innovation)

As both a tech founder with a growing business, and a mom with a growing family, Amina Gilani (MEDI '18) has had a unique set of experiences as an entrepreneur in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Amina is the Chief Operations Officer and Co-founder of Sociavore; a technology company focused on helping small and medium independent restaurants build he perfect digital guest experience.

With Amina’s leadership, Sociavore powers hundreds of restaurants across North America, including the Charcoal Group, Gusto 54 Restaurant Corporation, and Distillery Restaurants Corporation.

Amina and Sociavore are graduates of Communitech’s Fierce Founders Accelerator. Sociavore is also the 1st Canadian company to participate in the Food Foundry, a food technology accelerator run by Chicago’s 1871 and Gordon Food Service.

While studying in the Masters of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) program, Amina and her husband, Thusenth knew they wanted to help Ontario’s food and beverage industry move their services into the digital age.  Recognizing the need to improve customer engagement channels for independently owned and local restaurants, they created Sociavore. Since starting the company in 2018, they have grown to power 100s of restaurants, cafes, breweries and ghost kitchens all across North America.

With mass-production and industrial food systems causing increasing harm to the environment through pollution and poor land use, Amina is supporting positive change. By enabling local restaurants to survive and thrive, more restaurants are sourcing local, seasonal products grown in more sustainable ways. This reduces unnecessary food miles, promotes better land use and supports growing methods that are more environmentally friendly.

Smiling family of fiveGilani and her family, 2020

Amina takes inspiration from her grandmothers who were both immigrants in the 1960s. Her maternal grandmother was an entrepreneur who started a thriving daycare business in London, England. Her paternal grandmother moved to Canada in the 1960s when Amina’s grandfather received a job offer at Laurentian University. To this day, their tremendous perseverance inspires and informs Amina’s work ethic and leadership.

Amina’s leadership skills complement her career strengths. She cares deeply about the local community and making sure it continues to prosper. She is a board member for the Centre in the Square, has served on the Downtown Kitchener Advisory and Action Committee and as a board member for the University of Waterloo’s Bright Starts Early Learning Centre.