After a short break, it’s time to get EPIC yet again in the next part of our EPIC collaboration as we catch up with team Food Processing Incubator (FPI).
Here at Geeks in Cambodia, we believe that entrepreneurs can come from any background and the FPI team have perhaps, one of the most unique backgrounds – all members of the team are food scientist lecturers at the Institute of Technology Cambodia!
Their idea is to develop food processing technologies to help those in rural areas use raw materials to produce food with real nutritional value. For now, the team is focusing on soy-based products because of the commonality around Cambodia.
To find out more about their progress so far, the inspiration behind it and their goals in the EPIC programme, we caught up with the team for an interview.
The following interview has been edited for clarity, language and flow.
What inspired you to come up with this solution?
As a group of food scientists, we believe that scientific knowledge has to be connected to community’s development. We strive to find ways to empower Cambodians for local, safe and nutritious food production, especially from cereal and plant-based raw materials.
What are some key areas your research is focusing on?
Our main focus is on developing a practical technology for food production for family-based companies and SMEs. We are interested in local cereal and plant-based raw materials such as soybean, rice, pumpkin, cassava. We also concentrate on food quality and safety systems for food industries.
When it comes to implementing these technologies, how do you intend to train those in rural communities to utilize them?
By providing them the clear procedure to implement those technologies, we will also incubate them until they can apply the technology independently.
Why did you join the EPIC Programme?
We would like to build up our idea into a social business, but we don’t have experience in business, and the EPIC program has provided an opportunity for us to learn more about the business aspects.
Furthermore, we hope to be able to understand all aspects to develop our idea into a viable business while building up our contacts by networking with many experienced people in the field.
How has your experience been in EPIC so far?
Honestly, it’s been a really meaningful experience with both painful and joyful times. We’ve learned a lot, outside our box of science. We’ve learnt more about the real business world and how to respond to the customers’ needs and perspectives.
How do you hope the project will develop?
We hope and believe that our project will be able to transfer our first practical technology and expand our research. We envision that we will become a food research and incubator institute (or Food Technology and Innovation Hub) in the future.
What impact do you hope the project will have on Cambodia?
We hope that our project will provide both economic and social development; and environmental impact in Cambodia. With our technology and product development and training, we believe we will help food producers to access affordable food technology and produce their food with quality to compete in the market.
Quality food will then hopefully be more apparent in the market so that all Cambodians, especially children and women, can have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. We also wish to help food producers improve their production yield and reduce waste.
Finally, our long term goal would be that all family-based companies and food SMEs in Cambodia will produce safe and high quality food at an affordable price so that all of Cambodia’s population will have access to safe food with high nutritional quality.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs like yourself?
First, you’ll need to find out your expertise and your vision to help the community – to identify which gap we want to fill in society. After that, you’ve got to select your idea and make it into a reality.
And there you have it! Yet another one of our EPIC series interviews. Check back next week as we bring on yet more EPIC interview stories.