Geeks in Cambodia’s EPIC Collaboration – Mothers Mall

Eng has worked with non-governmental organisations and in the private sector for over 10 years. He has a passion to help women chart new grounds in the business sector.

Samphors’ background lies in producing mobile applications to help kids and youth in education. Similar to Eng, he too shares a passion in helping women who run small businesses have a bigger impact on the market.

After running a survey amongst 20 women in the grocery retail business, they found that many have difficulties in sustaining their business as they lacked access to the bigger market.

Inspired by this problem, they combined their passions and skills to develop Mothers Mall – an app to connect buyers directly with grocery sellers for purchase and delivery.

Now, the application is taking part in the EPIC Programme, Cambodia’s first ever year-long incubator, organised by Impact Hub and supported by Development Innovations Cambodia.

To find out more about the project, Geeks in Cambodia caught up with Eng and Samphors to discuss Mothers Mall.

The following interview has been edited for language, clarity and flow.

How will the app connect the buyers to the sellers?

Eng: The Mothers Mall Grocery App provides buyers a convenient way of shopping. For example, if you want to buy 2 cartons of Coca-cola for a party, then you would simply need to open the app, access the soft drink catalogue and select 2 cartons of Coca-cola. You’ll be presented with the price and quantity of the selected product. From there, key in your address and phone number and the app will help link you to a retail store nearby. The retail store owner will call you to confirm the delivery time and deliver it to your door step.

What are some unique features of the application that sets it apart from say, building a relationship with a vendor and calling them?

Eng: The unique feature of the application is that all vendors/retailers are in close proximity to your location and community. This also means that by using the Mothers Mall platform, you’ll not only be making it more convenient for yourself, you’ll also be supporting and helping local businesses to succeed.

As such, the social impact of using the app is that you would be supporting women and mothers in the grocery retail business in your community. In this way, they will earn a better income for their family and help to make a positive change in their lives.

What has the response been to the application so far?

Eng: We have received a great response and valuable input on this application through the test flight of about 50 people from different backgrounds. We have developed the app from version 1.1.1 to 1.1.5, and we have just completed our video tutorial for how to use the app. Therefore, after some final testing and some training for the retail store owners, we will be able to release our app to the public.

Why did you join the EPIC Programme?

Eng: We joined the EPIC Programme because it could help us to make our dreams come to life. We’ve learnt about the Social Business Model Canvas, and the Theory of change. The programme has also helped us to identify our value proposition and develop a SWOT Analysis. It is not easy at all to plan everything right from the start, but through learning and more practice, we are making it better day by day.

Furthermore, the EPIC programme has also connected us with mentors from Impact Hub’s network, and allowed us to get coaching with regards to our technology and how to produce videos for our project. This is a big support for startups like us which we cannot find elsewhere.

How can people come alongside to support your project?

  1. If they are a user, we hope that they can help to support retailers in their community by purchasing their groceries through the Mothers Mall App/Platform.
  2. If they are a retail store owner and they experience similar issues in lacking access to the bigger market and need support, we hope that they could contact us to be linked up to the app as well.

What impact do you hope the project will have on Cambodia?

Through this project we are aim to achieve the following positive impacts on our society:

  1. That ICT/online platforms are used as a marketing strategy for women in business, to increase access to the bigger market
  2. To increase income for local grocery retailers
  3. That children are more healthy and better educated
  4. To decrease microloan in the community
  5. To reduce air pollution in our country
  6. To help small businesses be sustainable so that they can contribute to economic growth

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs like yourself?

To have an idea is easy, but making the idea come to life needs lots of involvement, such as time and commitment as well as passion about the work. Additionally, you’ll need a great team, great mentor, great networking, and great friends as well.

We do it because we love to make a positive change to our society. It is not easy, but it is not something that we cannot do. If we could put our idea to practice and do it again and again, and we will get better day by day.

That was our interview with EPIC’s Mothers Mall team. For us at Geeks in Cambodia, it’s great to see entrepreneurs making use of technology to benefit the community at large!