Haresh Bhatt, President Hema Bhatt, Vice President Natu’Oil Services

Haresh Bhatt, President Hema Bhatt, Vice President Natu’Oil Services

From a small room inside of their Coquitlam home and a burning desire to succeed, Haresh and Hema made their start with shipping 7 containers of palm oil. 15 years later, The Bhatt Group of Companies is the largest supplier of packaged palm oil-based products in North America with 12,800 containers shipped.

Their offices are located in Port Coquitlam, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Kuala Lampur, Singapore, and Vadodra, India, with product available through eighteen warehouses located across North America. Sustainability is their motto – palm oil is naturally free of trans fat, non-genetically modified, cholesterol free, extends finished-product shelf life, and has the highest yield and best energy efficiency ratio of any vegetable oil crop in the world.

The Bhatt’s have diversified into three main arms: Food Products including various type of  shortenings from all purpose shortening to cake, icing and doughnut fry; Refined Palm Oil for the manufacturing of soaps and beauty products, and Animal Feed Energy Supplements such as calcium salt and palmitic acid for dairy cattle which are natural products used on dairy farms to produce a greater yield of milk and increase the amount of butter fat the milk contains, helping to increase the bottom line for farmers.

McDonald’s apple pies, Walmart cookies, and two-bite brownies at Costco all contain palm oil sourced from Natu’Oil Services.

Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia

Came to Canada: 2003 for a better quality of life and education for our children

Highest Level of Education: Haresh has a degree in Computer Science and Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Hema has a diploma in Hospitality and Tourism.

Favourite Past-time: They love spending family time, going to movies and trying different foods. Hema is an extrovert who loves meeting new people and Haresh is a foodie and wine connoisseur.

Toughest professional decision:

When Haresh suffered a stroke, he was only 50 and we had just surpassed the $100m sales mark. I suddenly found myself alone and having to split my time between the huge responsibility of running the company and being his caregiver. Haresh’s recovery was long and arduous, it was a very difficult time for us. One of our suppliers tried to take advantage and squeeze me out of the business. With a supportive team and systems in place, we were back on track. Our daughter Dharinee joined us two years ago, and Haresh is now back in full steam.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t doubt yourself. Have a vision and set time-bound goals so you can push yourself to the best of your abilities. This will help you think more creatively to achieve the extraordinary. Success is not final; failure is not fatal – it’s the courage to continue that counts.

What does the future look like?

Bringing the next generation into the business; with a succession plan in place, we know that our daughters will take over one day as they already are quite involved in the company. Dharinee is our Vice President of Operations and Nikhita just joined us 3 months ago. Despite our financial success, our daughters have learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Instead of paying Molly Maid to clean our office, we paid our kids, making them realize the importance of hard work and that no job is too small. The next steps are to aggressively grow across the globe. We look forward to the next generation of women leading our company!