Jacob Thundil, founder of Cocofina and Inventor, has been awarded an MBE for services to International Trade and Exports in the 2020 Birthday Honours lists. Jacob began his entrepreneurial journey from his kitchen back in 2005.
Fast-forward a few years and he and his business partner, Manisha Solanki, appeared on the popular BBC show, Dragons Den in 2016. Their pitch, the most successful of the season, had all five dragons fighting for a piece of the Cocofina pie. Today, Cocofina – The Coconut Experts boasts a range of 32 organic-certified products with 45% of their sales coming from exports across 28 countries worldwide.
Before starting Cocofina, Jacob qualified as a mechanical engineer followed by an MBA and then worked in the City of London in the investment banking industry. Throughout his 16 year-long journey in business, Jacob has acted as a Mentor to other prospective entrepreneurs and exporters.
He is an Export Champion, for the Department of International Trade, helping to guide and inspire others wishing to export their products. Cocofina won the ‘Best Employer’ award from Brunel University in 2017 and has been instrumental in providing placements to many young graduates.
This recognition comes after a very busy lockdown period; the team have been busy launching two more exciting and innovative food businesses. One of which is Sozyë, a sauce company using sustainable British seaweed instead of soya. The process of inventing a soya sauce alternative, sparked the idea to launch a range of 11 sauces, which includes a vegetarian fish sauce, oyster sauce and a soya-free teriyaki sauce. The other business has a patent pending in the area of sustainable food packaging.
Jacob Thundil states: ‘It is a great honour to receive the MBE from Her Majesty. I am proud to be part of the British food industry and to help with increasing exports from the UK. I will continue to help other entrepreneurs on their journey to expand their business beyond Britain. I am thrilled to have been recognised for my efforts and look forward to working in the vibrant food industry.