Hosted by the Weekly‘s editor Elizabeth Lee, the Great Women of Our Time podcast shines the spotlight on inspirational women and their journey through motherhood and their career. It also touches on grit, and overcoming life’s challenges.

From harbouring a childhood dream of being a doctor and later becoming a scientist, Dr. Sandhya Sriram, 36, now heads stem cell-based meat start-up Shiok Meats as its CEO, together with fellow scientist Dr. Ka Yi Ling as CTO. The company cultivates meat using the stem cells of live animals, and in particular, crustaceans like shrimps and lobsters.

Taking a leap of faith, the two left their jobs at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and in Aug 2018, started the business with what Sriram describes as “nothing but passion and skill.” Now, they work with a team of 35, and are currently building a cultured seafood manufacturing facility in Singapore. Their goal? To introduce their products to the market by 2023. Recently, they’ve also newly acquired Gaia Foods, the first company in Southeast Asia to develop cell-cultured red meat.

In our conversation below, Sandhya shares more about starting the business from scratch, the concerns and myths surrounding stem cell-based meat, the importance of having a passion for your job, hiring the right team, and being a laid-back mom to her eight-year-old son.

Here are the highlights:

1:32: A day in the life of Sandhya Sriram
4:46: On how she got started in stem cell research and her childhood dream of becoming a doctor
09:51: On leaving the security of a job, and taking a leap of faith to put on a full-time entrepreneurial hat
11:25: On the working dynamics with her co-founder Kai Yi, the start of Shiok Meats, and her journey in the last three years
15:36: Addressing the myths and concerns surrounding stem cell-based meat
19:20: Her thoughts on plant-based meats, and what consumers can do to have a more conscious and healthier lifestyle
24:12: On enjoying motherhood, her aspirations for her son, and her advice for young moms looking to make a switch in their lives
29:15: Her definition of success
32:22: Her best tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, setting goals and deadlines, and hiring the right people
37:00 What’s next for Shiok Meats
37:50: Quickfire round of questions