Thursday 23 April 2015
Alumna Aisha Raheem has recently launched her business Farmz2U. She talks to us about her business development and crowdfunding campaign.
You are currently launching your business Farmz2U. What service do you provide to your customers?
Farmz2U is a marketplace for organic food. We are the middle man between the farmer and the consumer thus promoting a direct relationship with food. Our aim is to simplify the current food supply chain which is very complex and focuses on the quantity of food instead of the quality of food.
Why is Farmz2U such an important initiative relating to environmental and consumer responsibility concerns?
Farmz2U is addressing two global issues: the poor nutrition in our food and the increasing level of waste, which is estimated to be a third of total production according to UN figures. We are not just facilitating the production and consumption of organic food, we are educating people about food and teaching them to be socially responsible through our values:
- Holistic Healing - Educating the world about holistic healing with food
- Living Actively - Promoting healthy and active lifestyles
- Symbiotic Ecosystem - Ensuring social responsibility as global citizens
What processes have you completed to get to the launch stage? And what are your next steps?
We launched a crowdfunding campaign on 23 March, which we aim to use to raise funds to facilitate the development of our marketplace.
The first phase of our website is in beta stage. It will allow the buying and selling of organic food whilst giving customers the option of having their food delivered to their home or workplace or, alternatively, they can use our click and collect service. Other functionalities will be phased into the website build over the next few months, such as a cloud-based platform where excess food – which would otherwise be waste – can be donated to our partner charities.
How has QMUL helped you develop your business?
I graduated from QMUL in 2011 with a Bachelor Honours degree in Economics. Apart from my academic experience, which has facilitated the development of my business, QMUL has been instrumental in promoting the business and introducing me to useful partners.
Congratulations on your success in winning third place in the Santander 60 Second Pitch competition. What did the competition involve?
The competition involved submitted a video pitch that highlighted the business concept and the problem that was being addressed. I won a £500 cash prize which is being used towards the development of the business. It was a great learning experience, and more importantly the recognition we received from Santander further certifies our viability as a business.
What has been the most challenging part of developing Farmz2U?
Developing a feasible logistics model has been the most challenging aspect of the business. However, we have developed a unique system that will be used by our Farmz2U vendors to ensure delivery to customers is easy and convenient.
What are your future aspirations for Farmz2U?
Our ultimate aim is to heal the world through food. We believe the world is very sick and this is directly related to what we are eating. With Farmz2U we aspire to revolutionise the marketplace for organic food.
For any students that have entrepreneurial ideas, what advice would you give them?
Whatever your idea, if you believe in its success, go after it and make no excuses. I have a full-time job which I am committed to, yet I made time to build a business idea I believe in. And while it has been no easy feat, it continues to be an enjoyable experience that pushes my growth in all aspects of my life.
What are your personal career aspirations?
My aspirations are to develop Farmz2U into a viable and competitive business that can be publicly traded within five to nine years given the development of its exponential growth potential. I am also developing my career in finance – I’m currently an analyst in asset management, and I aim to grow to a first tier level of a reputable organisation where my role will be instrumental in the organisation’s growth.
How can students find out more about Farmz2U?
You can follow us on our social media pages or visit our website. We are scheduled to start trading in April, so our website will be for informational purposes only till then.
We actively seek collaborative relationships with technical and non-technical experts and students. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can contribute to the business.