Our non-profit solution, named “FirstMile,” is a Bhutan-based mobile app. It connects informal delivery providers (e.g. truck drivers, taxi drivers) to rural farmers. Its value proposition is that it provides new work to informal “shippers” while fulfilling an extant need among agricultural cooperatives to move products of varying quantity and size across the country.
What makes our product innovative is that it leverages two important facts: First, Bhutan has 7,500 miles of roads and 91.6% of houses across the country are located within 30 minutes of a road. Second, private vehicle ownership is surprisingly widespread. There are about 110,000 private vehicles in a population of roughly 750,000 people, equating to a 14% vehicle ownership rate.
Thus, instead of developing a capital-intensive logistics organization with a top-down structure, FirstMile uses a bottom-up technology solution.
Bhutan holds a diffuse population of 750,000. Outside of its urban capital (Thimphu), the remainder of the country can essentially be characterized as remote. 63.2% of the population resides in the rural reaches of the country. Two-thirds of these rural residents work in agriculture, but collectively produce only 17% of GDP. The 8.2% of the country below the poverty line is found here. Our project aims to increase real income for these rural agricultural producers.
What I Will Do With $5,000
We will use the grant money for:
- Tech infrastructure for user-based research (projector rental for community meetings, external recorders for interviews): $150
- Marketing for initial pilots (mailers, WeChat and Facebook marketing campaigns): $250
- Delivery insurance fund for initial pilots: $500
- Travel expenses for user-based research: $1050
- Android app expert retention: $2000