Helping the Disabled and B40 Community with a Cafe on Wheels
My Foodbike Sdn Bhd (Foodbike) is a social enterprise that helps the disabled and the B40 community to become enterpreneurs through the concept of micro-franchising. According to the social welfare department, there are almost 489,000 recipients of aid. Foodbike aims to assist some of them to lift themselves out of poverty by improving their earning potential.
How It Started
Food trucks are mobile cafes on wheels that can be relocated to a new location at any time. However, most of the underprivileged cannot afford the expensive capital,
approximately RM50,000 to RM100,000, required to start a food truck business. So how can they get into the mobile cafe on wheels business?
In 2016, the Foodbike team joined the the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) Accelerator Programme (MAP) Social Enterprise Track. They were one of the first startups in the programme to come from Perak.
During the 15-week programme, they went through the MVP (minimum viable product), where they were able to validate their menu, conduct food tasting and set their pricing. They even built a prototype electric bicycle with a body made from wood. Currently, Foodbike uses three-wheel bikes.
Before they came to MaGIC, their business idea was just to sell bike, but after being advised by a few mentors in the programme, they evolved to focus on micro-franchising.
“We provide a three-wheel bike, training, marketing support, an iPad and a POS system for them to start work immediately,” said Izat Izwan Bin Idzian, founder of Foodbike.
Foodbike also introduced a Rent-to-Own scheme - when the beneficiaries have reached a certain amount of sales revenue, the ownership of the Foodbike will be transferred to them.
“In the beginning, we never thought that we would be working closely with the disabled community. Then, we were introduced to Ras Adiba Radzi, a veteran newscaster who was also the president of OKU Sentral. She was sworn in as a senator in May 2020, representing persons with disabilities (OKU),” said Izat.
“We discovered that the deaf community did not receive the same aid given to other persons with disabilities. They look like normal people. It’s only when you try to communicate with them that you discover they are not the same,” he explained.
Foodbike has since worked closely with seven deaf beneficiaries and Izat is happy to share that they have increased their income by 50% to 100%.
Growing the Business
Foodbike is a part of the Pemangkin Usahawan Sosial Hebat (PUSH) programme, and supported by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and MaGIC. PUSH is a scale-up programme with an ambition to grow social enterprises and increase their social impact through a personalised capacity building and skills development training.
Before joining PUSH, Foodbike had four branches - at Menara CIMB (KL Sentral), Menara Southern Bank (Bukit Damansara), Sunway University and Monash University.
“The PUSH programme is beneficial because it helps social enterprises to scale up their business and increase their revenue. After PUSH, we widened our community of beneficiaries to include those from the B40 community, such as at-risk youth and the homeless. We have successfully trained three non-disabled persons and paired them with our deaf beneficiaries, and placed them at each of our branches. Since then, we have successfully opened two new branches - one at ANSA Hotel (Bukit Bintang), and another at Menara UAB (Jalan Tun Perak, Masjid Jamek),” said Izat.
“We hope to open more branches in the future, so that we can offer more employment opportunities to the disabled and the B40 community, to empower them and increase their income,” said Izat.
In the future, Foodbike would also consider stokist, agent or dropship arrangements.
How You Can Help
Foodbike sells food to walk-in customers and offers food delivery as well. Besides that, they provide catering services for meetings and events.
As with most businesses, especially social enterprises, Foodbike has had its share of challenges, such as not enough capital and unable to increase the variety of its product offerings, and unable to employ more staff.
Currently, the covid pandemic has affected the Foodbike operators - 50% to 60% of customers order food through Grab. Members of the public and companies can order food from Foodbike through Grab as well.
You can help by purchasing or ordering meals from Foodbike. With every combo meal you purchase, Foodbike will help a person in need.