Story

Julius, Tanzania

Making healthy food accessible and connecting farmers to digital opportunities

Accessing healthy food is not always easy when living in a large city like Dar es Salaam. You might know the location of markets and grocery stores, but traffic and a lack of time makes it impossible to get to them. So you eat unhealthy, fast food instead – or buy groceries that are locally available with a limited range of products and usually sold at higher price.

Julius J. Julius is making healthy food available at the touch of a button. The social innovator from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is the creator of Click n’ Cart, an online platform where customers can have fresh and healthy groceries delivered to their home. Orders are placed by smartphone, tablet, or computer, and can be dropped off at any address in Dar es Salaam within the hour.

The Click n’ Cart solution

Click n’ Cart’s services will benefit a number of groups. First, there are the customers: busy professionals who work late and do not have the time to grocery shop. Other customers include less privileged groups, such as those with disabilities, single mothers, or people in areas without a place to buy healthy food.

Once the platform is fully operational, residents of Dar es Salaam will be able to go online and select their neighbourhood. Then, they pick a local grocery store, select their products, and choose their payment mode: mobile money or cash on delivery. Once the order is made, a Click n’ Cart buyer goes to the shop to get the groceries. They avoid the city’s traffic snarls by taking a motorcycle taxi or bajaji (auto rickshaw) to the customer’s home.

Click n’ Cart buyers are specially trained to select the best groceries for customers. Buyers are trained by partner shops on the quality of different products and how to handle them. This knowledge will then be passed down to benefit customers.

The online platform makes its money through a small convenience fee charged for transportation, and Click n’ Cart gets commission for a certain percent of customer purchases. Julius also envisions putting paid grocery store advertisements on the platform’s website.

Impact on local farmers

Through education, local food producers become another beneficiary of Click n’ Cart. Products from small-scale farmers are often not accepted into retail stores because of branding and packaging issues. Click n’ Cart plans to have grocery store partners work with producers to change this. They will explain how producers can add value to their products, and how to pack and brand those items to meet the requirements of the shop.

Julius plans to involve grocery shop partners that value local produce and products. “By expanding our customer base we will be triggering local farmers’ products when it comes to eggs, chicken, honey, and more,” he explains.

Click n’ Cart’s startup challenges

Social entrepreneurship is not an easy journey.

“It is hard for entrepreneurs to build a team,” Julius admits. “Getting someone who can share your vision is difficult.”

Through Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)’s programs for social entreoreneurs, Julius realized team building must rely on open collaboration — letting everyone know where the idea is going, and creating a sense of ownership, even if that means providing equity in the business. While it involves a swallowing of pride, Julius says this is the only way. “You have to be frank from the beginning and say that you do not have money or resources yet, but you have a good idea you are working towards,” he adds.

“Dar es Salaam’s startup ecosystem is growing, but it is still in the very early stages, so there are not many stakeholders around,” he says. “More startup gatherings and hackathons would help. It would also help if the government put more value in the role of entrepreneurship in the economy.” Through DOT’s peer support platform, Innojo, Julius is finding the peer support he needs from social innovators around the world.

At DOT we’re excited to bring you compelling stories that highlight the impact of daring young social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship and social innovation is a journey, so we invite you to follow along with Julius’ journey by following him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/julius-j-mbungo-49a5b7a8.

This #DOTYouth Spotlight was developed as a part of DOT’s 2017 Unconference in Rwanda, Kenya, supported by the Mastercard Foundation and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

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