With his gluten free, vegan burgers, Go Veggies founder Genga Ponnampalam is working to bring hearty and fresh veggie fare to your kitchen table.
As a software developer by trade, Ponnampalam started Go Veggies as a weekend passion project, and it only grew from there.
“I noticed that a huge issue in America is people’s eating, and I have experience from back home," says Ponnampalam. "I thought it was a good fit for me to start something on the side and demand grew."
Ponnampalam is now working at his startup full-time.
Not only are Go Veggie’s burgers gluten free and vegan, but they're made fresh at farmers' markets and can be found at retailers such as the Lexington Co-op and Wegmans.
“We have a burger called the fitness burger, a high protein burger that we serve after the fitness classes on Canalside,” Ponnampalam says.
Helping this dream become a reality, Go Veggie has worked with Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) for many years. WEDI works to empower economically disadvantaged people in Buffalo, with a focus on the West Side community. They offer not only business training, technical assistance, business microloans, but also run the West Side Bazaar.
Ponnanpalam, an immigrant from Sri Lanka, sees a benefit to these support services.
“People new to this country, they can get a loan and start a business," he says. "That is very very helpful for newcomers. Especially now, a lot of Middle Eastern and Burmese people are coming to Buffalo.”
Reflecting back on when he started his business, “When we started this business, it was Go Veggies, go home. It was a different city then. Now a focus on vegetarian options is huge.”
As his business continues to grow, Ponnampalam says, “Buffalo loves food. It is a great community for starting a business.”