44 CEO MONTHLY / GLOBAL CEO EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2020 , Best Sustainable Agri-Food CEO 2020 (UAE): Atul Chopra When Atul first entered the world of entrepreneurship twenty years ago, it was in the fledgling tech industry. He built many successful businesses in the field, but felt unsatisfied in the long run. With so much travel and an intensive lifestyle, it was necessary to practice a proactively healthy way of living. With FreshOnTable, Atul has been able to bring all his skills to the fore. FreshOnTable is a digital platform, connecting local farms and Agri businesses with local buyers – this means both businesses and individual customers. The platform has grown quickly and now hosts a number of local Farms, artisan food businesses and top gourmet restaurants. Atul has always had an eye for the best quality, so the platform is designed to keep the two parties as close as possible. Instead of going to a shop, FreshOnTable removes the middleman and ensures a fair price to sellers and value for money for buyers. In the next phase it plans to recycle Agri and food waste into biochar to complete the sustainability loop. The most important aspect of the business for Atul was a determination to benefit all parties. With clients on both sides, it’s essential that he make both look good. To this end, he has worked with local chefs to curate menus that reflect what the local food economy can bring and showcase the very best of the area. With a discerning audience, this resonates incredibly well adding an important level of sophistication. Freshness, traceability and fair trade are key to any top-level chef, and FreshOnTable always delivers. It has an interesting tagline - #harvestedondemand. While the COVID-19 pandemic might have stopped people eating out, this is only a part of Atul’s overall mission. In the long run, he intends to revolutionize the way in which people see the agricultural scene in the UAE. Many think that there is no local food economy at all, and part of his work has been interacting between various stakeholders to make everyone aware of what is available and how tech is transforming it. In fact, since the pandemic has hit, the security of food chains, the importance of local food economy and fresh healthy eating are now being practised like never before. The importance associated with food recycling as opposed to landfills has become so much more prominent. While the B2B side of the business has understandably slowed, Atul has been able to scale up the B2C business to take advantage of this unique opportunity. As CEO, Atul knows he has a responsibility to his team, with many looking to him for guidance and leadership in this difficult time. He has made a point to be available to all of them individually, keeping in regular contact about the business strategy and ensuring that everyone is performing as well as they possibly can. Many of his team are strong risk-takers with an entrepreneurial streak, much like him. A key aspect of his leadership has been to allow them to make decisions that could benefit the company, while watching carefully so he can recover a situation if it goes wrong. Mistakes are to be expected, and it is what is learned that is most important. With such a successful platform that has weathered the most unexpected of storms, it’s little wonder that Atul expects his platform to go global in the next few years, with a vision of FreshOnTable making its way across GCC countries and then to North America. Starting an Agri business in a place where people are unaware of what is available has not been easy, but any entrepreneurial enterprise has its own unique challenges. Atul is proud to play a key role in the country’s food security mission, which is surely the biggest measure of the company’s success. Company: FreshOnTable DWC LLC Name: Atul Chopra Web Address: www.freshontable.com Jun20029 “BuyLocal, Support Local, Support Local community” ishowFreshOnTable sells itself, and it does exactlywhat it says.Under the leadershipofAtulChopra, thecompanyhasbeenable tosuccessfully connect local farmswithlocal buyers. Thebenefits toall parties areclear. Bringing thisdreamabout, however, hasnot beeneasy.We lookmorecloselyatAtul andhisfirmtofindoutmore.