As part of our efforts to share business and financial knowledge with young Gambians, BusinessinGambia had a very interesting interview with the CEO of Gambia’s first online Fresh Food shopping firm called Farm Fresh Gambia.
So what exactly is Farm Fresh Gambia? The best statement we could find which summarizes the purpose is right on their website:
It is FARM FRESH’s mission to become the leading provider of fresh vegetables and fruits in The Gambia. This will be accomplished by providing quality vegetable and fruits at fair prices while exceeding customer’s expectations.
This exciting innovation, the first of its kind in The Gambia is the country’s first online real-time shopping and delivery website portal.
And now to the innovator behind this idea, Modou N.S. Njie, the CEO and Founder Farm Fresh Gambia.
BusinessinGambia : Hi, we are glad you were able to take some time out of your day for our first interview session on leading enterprises and startups in the Gambia. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Farm Fresh : I am a young Gambian who grew up in The Gambia. I did my schooling in The Gambia, USA, India, UK. I am an IT enthusiast and have worked for various companies and organization including the UN Office (UNDP Gambia – Independent IT Consultant), Deloitte and Touche (Consultant), Reliance Financial Services Ltd (IT Manager), Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia (Head of Technology Department). I have a cumulative working experience in ICT spanning over 18 years.
BusinessinGambia : How did you get to start in technology industry that support Agriculture?
Farm Fresh : As I just mentioned above I am an IT enthusiast and have always loved and embraced technology since my high school days in the 90s when I was attending part-time computer classes at GTTI. I came to realize at an early stage that technology was going to be main the driver of the world economy. With the advent of e-commerce I saw the need to infuse my ICT skills into the Agriculture arena which has such a huge untapped potential in order to help complete the Agricultural value chain , specifically in the marketing and delivery department.
BusinessinGambia : What benefit do people have with using the services of Farm Fresh vs the current alternatives?
Farm Fresh : The benefits are many, most apparent of them all is the ability to sit in the comfort of your home and order fresh fruits, vegetables or other local products and have them delivered at your door step whilst you focus on your daily work. Shopping on farmfresh.gm also allows you to earn loyalty points which you can later redeem and order on farmfresh.gm for free using just your loyalty points (similar to acquiring miles in the airline industry). You will also automatically get a 5% discount on your next order as soon you refer a new customer to us via farmfresh.gm. The other benefit is that the process is fast, convenient, hassle free, we do the donkey work for you whilst you focus on other important things.
BusinessinGambia : What has been the most difficult challenge thus far?
Farm Fresh : The most difficult challenge has been to convince local Gambian shoppers to embrace technology to start using the web to place their orders because a vast majority of them are already on Facebook! Basically it is to change their mindset. Currently 90% of all orders are made by Gambians in the diaspora. Most of local orders are made via phone or word of mouth.
BusinessinGambia : Tell me a little more about how you financed this start-up? Bootstrapped it? Loan from others?
Farm Fresh : Self-financed ! My main investment was to build the website which I did myself as I am a web developer. I also did paid facebook Ads and few radio commercials, bought some delivery boxes etc.
No loan! No credit!
BusinessinGambia : What are you doing to gain exposure?
Farm Fresh : Farm Fresh is now becoming a house hold name in The Gambia and abroad but there is a lot of room for improvement. We use social media a lot especially facebook and twitter and we have found it to be very effective. We are also advertising our services to Gambians abroad via non-political Gambian websites which are based abroad. We have done some radio commercials and phone-in talk shows in the past 6 months. We hope to do our first ever TV commercial in a month’s time.
BusinessinGambia : Where do you see your company a few years down the road?
Farm Fresh : In 5 years time we hope to be in at least 15 African countries. This journey has already started as we are already in Ghana branded as Malata Market http://www.malatamarket.com/ and very soon in Sierra Leone known as Kroo Town Road Market. Talks are already at an advanced stage to launch in Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali and few other countries.
BusinessinGambia : For aspiring entrepreneurs or those in the same boat as you, do you have any words of advice?
Farm Fresh : Let them be steadfast and consistent with their work. Be patient but persistent, never take no for an answer. Never give up despite encountering mistakes and challenges on the way. Have strong faith and be disciplined, set clear goals and targets. Be innovative and always have in mind that there is always room for improvement, strive to improve quality of service or product always.
Think fast, think ahead of your competitors. Follow world trends in your area of business.
BusinessinGambia : Farm Fresh was one of the Nominees of GCCI 2014 Emerging Business of the Year award, how do you feel about the nomination?
Farm Fresh : This was an unexpected yet well deserved recognition as we have really worked our socks off to come this far albeit with meager resources. The nomination boosted our self-esteem and gave us courage to strive even harder to achieve even higher heights. It was an honour to be included in the emerging category amongst other well established companies with more resources. It was fantastic!
BusinessinGambia : What are your contacts in case a potential client or firm want to reach you?
Thank you for sharing your experience and know-how with our readers.