MBA student Reetika Mehta is working on a food delivery comparison app, which will allow consumers to save time and money.

How it started…

I worked for eight years as a Senior Operations Analyst in the IT sector in India after completing a Bachelor of Business Administration.

I chose the MBA at Essex Business School (EBS) because of its global exposure and the importance of work experience in the entry requirements. Having such broad experience, I knew the chances of getting a place at Essex were much higher. This was also a great opportunity to meet many professionals with diverse backgrounds. I knew it would allow me to be more open-minded and exposed to other business fields. EBS also offers a one-year full-time MBA programme, which is an advantage compared to other universities. My willingness to broaden my business knowledge in an international environment during only one year compelled me to apply to Essex.

I have always had my business idea in my mind. When I met with friends back in India, we wondered how to find the cheapest food delivery. It was very time-consuming to compare prices on different delivery apps. I was always thinking about why we don’t have one platform that will give us details on delivery methods and menu details. I knew that having everything in the same place would help us save time, choose desired food items and a cheaper delivery provider.

Meeting the Essex Startups team…

Initially, I was not even sure my idea could be a business! I learnt about Essex Startups from a Careers Workshop. I realised that with the right guidance my idea could have potential, so I signed up for an Essex Startups event - How to Become a Better Leader and Inspire Others.

I didn’t know whether turning my business idea into a platform as a mobile app was possible or how to go about developing this type of product. I discussed every concern with the Essex Startups team, and they encouraged me to go back to basics and obtain research on all aspects relating to the target market and the app product development process. I discovered the market does not offer a product like this, so I decided to take action more confidently, thanks to support from the team. I have attended 1:1s with James and Lauren, which were extremely useful. They were always happy to give me feedback, which greatly helped me prepare my business plan. I discussed my idea with John Stenhouse (Business Support Manager) as well, who guided and encouraged me with his valuable suggestions. Essex Startups Team gave me a path and showed me step-by-step how to turn my idea into a real-life business.

I took part in marketing and branding workshops and the Summer Bootcamp. Topics covered during the sessions were similar to my course modules, but were much more interactive and gave me the chance to apply the learning directly to my business plan. We had a lot of group activities, including the business simulation. We also had the opportunity to network and hear the insightful experiences of external guest speakers, who were industry professionals.

During the Essex Startups workshops, I learnt more about business planning and branding, which was very helpful in developing my business idea. I was unaware of many business aspects that were covered in these events, which allowed me to discover more about applied business practice and gave me the motivation to develop my business further.

How is it going…

I am currently working on the app development according to my plan – I work with software developers and restaurants to collect relevant data and put the product together. It is a mobile app that includes delivery comparisons, so customers can easily see what is best for them. I also plan to add features such as nutritional value information about the food to help consumers make choices based on their personal requirements.

My business plan is still in the early stage, which I’m working on alongside my final MBA project. I have proposed a topic relevant to my business, which helps me balance my studies and business development. Being a full-time MBA student and working on your business can be intense, but having a good plan and support makes life easier!

Next steps…

My business aims to help consumers save money and not resign from ordering food due to the time-consuming constraints of searching for the best delivery options. This app will also help restaurants to generate more traffic.

I am taking part in the Big Pitch later this month, where I will pitch my business idea in front of investors in the hope of securing my first investment. I am both excited and scared! However, I have done plenty of research to prepare for any questions or investors’ concerns. Events like Dragons Den and support from the Startups team has helped to boost my confidence ahead of this significant pitching event.

I will soon begin work on the marketing plan for my product launch. Essex Startups has offered me a licence agreement to work on my business in Studio X, which I will definitely do after finishing my MBA project. I am excited to have a workspace in Innovation Centre alongside other entrepreneurs!

Words of wisdom…

Take advantage of the Essex Startups team’s support and training opportunities, they will guide you through each stage of the start-up process and enhance your aspirational outlook. I was also unaware of Essex Startups or Innovation Centre, but I recommend attending their events. They give you real motivation to work on your business idea!

If you have a business idea, I would suggest booking 1:1 sessions. The team will help to define your idea and prepare you for the next stage of business development.

And, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter – it is very useful to be connected with the Startups Team!

Find out more

If you have a potential business idea, or are interested in developing your business skills, find out more about the training, events and support Essex Startups offers to current students and recent graduates.