Our inspiration came from by seeing how many international students, migrants, starts-up, and small business communities have been impacted by COVID-19. We noticed that many of them have decided to give it a try and immerse into the homemade food industry now selling jams, chutneys, dry snacks from their homes. Shriya's friend, Amy and Smriti both international students started their homemade food business selling healthy desserts and chutney respectively. Currently, they are selling on Instagram and Facebook and mostly relying on word of mouth. We believe that anyone is able to reach their full potential if they get a second chance, the right support, and proper tools so we decided to step up and create something that would help them to reduce those stressful and time-consuming elements from the equation. This would enable them to start focusing right away only on those that will help them to grow and reach their dreams & goals.
What it does
It provides a platform for home cooks to sell their products online as this is the right now to revive the culture of home food and empower them to sell their products all around Australia. It is a community network where people can browse through the flavors of the world from the comfort of home. It builds a global connection as even though we are lockdown, our taste buds don't have to be in one! Most of the sellers are international students, migrants and Australian families doing their part to survive this pandemic and create a future through their business and we want to be one supporting them on this journey.
How we built it
From the beginning we divided the different tasks among all of us, always keeping Slack and Zoom as our main communication channels. To designed our logo we used FLD (Free Logo Design), for our prototype we used Figma. As for our pitch, we created a google drive doc, and then we practiced it and recorder the final version using Zoom. And lastly, we selected the iMovie program to make our video. We used BMC (Business Model Canvas) for our business model and Miro for brainstorming ideas.
Challenges we ran into
Overall, we were able to fix and adapt really fast since most of the challenges were reasonable and relatively easy to manage. The one that we count as a bit more challenging where we decided to move the building the website on Squarespace to using Figma tool for creating a prototype. We had to build everything from the scratch after being a couple of hours into website development on Squarespace. The team remained resilient and learned Figma quickly after receiving a tutorial from a mentor. They then created a 5-page prototype that captures the key functionality even though we were using it for the first time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're an all-women team and we're really proud of the fact that we connected over this idea in the first place. We all have a reason why we wanted to work on this project as we are very passionate about resolving issues faced by international students and the migrant community. We built a rapport with each other and understood what our main areas of strength and built upon it through the course of this hackathon. Knowledge sharing was done extensively and quickly learned tools that we had hadn't used before. We remained organized, picked each other back up whenever we ran into any challenges, and followed through the project plan right till the end. One of our team members is located in Boston, USA and we have a 14 hour time difference but despite that, we were able to meet our key milestones on time.
What we learned
We learned to remain resilient, have fun along the way, team building, and self-management. We all come from different backgrounds such as Project Management, Marketing, IT so we all learned from each other and their areas of expertise. This experience emphasized the fact that nothing is difficult to overcome if we are passionate about something and listening to each other is the key!
What's next for Our Pantry #HEX1
- Gain contact and create partnerships with small business owners and home-based businesses
- Secure financial backing and mentoring to help launch the business
- Design, develop and launch the platform