A Sheffield-based entrepreneur is hoping to give independent retailers a competitive edge when it comes to generating online sales after launching a brand new business designed to help small supermarkets to compete with the big four when it comes to securing online orders.
Mazen Musaeed launched ReadyMart in September after realising that independently owned supermarkets and retail outlets were often unable to compete with the larger chains in the battle to secure online orders. Keen to create a level playing field for smaller businesses, Mazen drew on his own expertise of working in a family-run business to pioneer an innovative solution which connects customers with speciality retail businesses, enabling them to place their order using an app.
The new entrepreneur began developing his business idea whilst working towards an International Business and Spanish degree at Sheffield Hallam University, often balancing the demands of his studies alongside 12-16 hour working days. The day after he completed his final exam, a time when most students take time-out to reflect on their achievements, Mazen registered ReadyMart and began putting his plans into motion, calling on help from the Sheffield City Region Launchpad Programme and Sheffield Technology Parks’ Cooper Project to help him develop his business ideas further.
Through the Cooper Project, Mazen secured free office premises, providing a base for his business, and by engaging the support of Launchpad he had access to a dedicated business adviser who was able to help with essential legal advice. Since launching ReadyMart, the business has entered into partnerships with five specialist retail stores offering a range of vegan, zero waste and international foods which can all be ordered through the click of a button, whilst the support he has received from Launchpad and Sheffield Technology Parks has enabled him to surround himself with like-minded individuals and tap into specialist marketing support. Mazen has even teamed up with another beneficiary of the Cooper Project, Fran Partida to further develop the service.
Mazeen said: “Independently-owned stores play an important role in the local community, many people living nearby are reliant upon the products they provide, and can often source products which aren’t available from mainstream retailers. It’s not just a problem in Sheffield but one affecting independent retailers throughout the UK where many are missing out on online sales, simply because selling products via the internet can be a labour intensive process. ReadyMart helps to simplify this process, giving customers greater choice of products, as well as knowing they are supporting local, independently-run businesses.
“After finishing my studies, I knew that the initial idea for ReadyMart would be a success, but there were areas in which I needed help. Both Launchpad and the Cooper Project have proved to be invaluable to my business – helping me to connect with experienced professionals to give me a greater understanding of the many different elements of running a business. They provided me with priceless advice regarding legal information and terms and conditions, which has helped me construct a company that follows legislation and minimises the chances of making avoidable naïve mistakes. Having proved the concept works, we’re hoping to grow the business further by launching ReadyMart in other towns and cities across the UK.”
Natalie Fletcher, Business Advisor, Sheffield City Region Launchpad Programme said: “Many students both current and graduates access our support to help explore and validate the business ideas they have. Mazen is the perfect example of an individual that has carried out the essential market research required before committing to starting the business and has been able to adapt his initial concept as a result of the research and feedback he has received. The Cooper Project is a unique programme, designed to help and nurture aspiring entrepreneurs working in the digital and technology sectors to realise the potential of their ideas. It’s clear that being based in an environment where he is surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs has helped Mazen to further develop his ideas. It is also fantastic to see Mazen collaborating with another Cooper Project member Fran, they have both worked really hard to get the first local supermarkets trialling the app.
“An important element of Mazen’s business model was to understand his legal responsibilities of running a business. Through Launchpad, Mazen was able access one-to-one support, enabling him to seek out the answers he needed to develop his company, as well as accessing a range of workshops and networking events. I can’t wait to see how this new business progresses. Mazen has demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment on each step of the journey and is a natural entrepreneur!”
Ready Mart has recently added a new member of staff to its growing team with the addition of data analyst Sergio Vargas Fuentes, who will assist Mazen in the growth and development of the business.
Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Entrepreneurs who access Launchpad are those who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last three years.