Corn On The GO: Engineer duo aims to replace junk food with healthy snacks

Given the condition and employment scenario of Kashmir, the duo has decided not to look for any kind of government employment. Rather become job providers.

SYED JESARAT
Srinagar, Publish Date: Mar 12 2018 11:29PM | Updated Date: Mar 12 2018 11:29PM
Corn On The GO: Engineer duo aims to replace junk food with healthy snacksGK Photo

To provide an alternative to junk food, two engineering graduates from SSM College have started on wheels sweet corn kiosks in Srinagar city.

From being close friends, Rizwan Khan, 27, and Tehleel Nissar, 27, turned business partners in October last year, when they launched ‘Corn On The Go’, Kashmir’s first on wheels sweet corn kiosk venture.

“The idea was to bring something new to Kashmir, which can help replace the unhealthy junk food as well as create some jobs too. And that is how we decided about opening sweet corn kiosks on wheels,” says Tehleel.

To put up a shop, would have meant restricted area coverage, therefore the duo decided about kiosks on wheels, which can be always on the go and can cover the areas as per the demand.

“We wanted to reach people instead of they looking for us, that is why we didn’t go for a permanent shop,” said Rizwan.

Registered under Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 for J&K, the ‘Corn On The Go’ has an office at Kani Tar, Sadarbal, where from they operate and send their kiosks around the city.

The duo has presently six ‘machine kiosks’, which keep moving in the city.

“One of our kiosk is permanently at SSM College, our alma mater, and other five get stationed at different places mostly busy junctions like Sanant Nagar,  Karan Nagar etc or any place where we expect large footfall of people like Nishat or some other busy market,” says Rizwan. “The carts are also currently functional in prime areas like Dargah Hazratbal, Lalchowk, Rajbagh, Batamaloo, with an increase demand from other universities and colleges as well.”

With the good initial response, the duo is planning to introduce more carts soon. As the schools are now open, they expect more business.

“We started with initial capital of Rs 4 lakh only and work on minimum profit. The price of one cup of corn is only Rs 40, which gives us a marginal profit,” says Rizwan, adding, this is a venture to make an experiment about a new startup, which is more about the idea rather than investment. “And the results are encouraging as the sales are very good.”

They sell three flavours of sweet corn presently and will add four more to it.

“We have enthralled our customers by serving three different mouth-watering flavors- The Lime for the tanginess, the Ranch Masala to bring up the spice and the Cream Vanilla to take your taste-buds to a higher level,” says Tehleel.

“Its Kashmir's first on the wheel flavoured sweet corn and we have high quality corn from Al-Kabeer, international sellers,” says Tehleel.

They have six employees, all hired locally, who run these machine carts. Tehleel says besides salary they also provide them some commission, as well as, accommodation on need basis.

Given the condition and employment scenario of Kashmir, the duo has decided not to look for any kind of government employment. Rather become job providers.

Both of them say they are highly encouraged by the market response and plan to scale it up, as much as possible.

“This is a healthy choice to replace the daily junk food, which has become a habit of people here. As per WHO recommendations  sweet corn have many health benefits, it lowers  the risk of cardiovascular diseases, boosts immune system, prevents haemorrhoids, reduces cholesterol, controls diabetes, and is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals,” said Rizwan.

Besides scaling up, the other plans are: The carts are presently gas operated and will be upgraded to solar power in future, the designing for that is under process.

They are also planning to enable the GPS system in the carts in coming six months so that people can easily track the location of the cart.

“The feedback that we receive on Facebook and Instagram gives us the motivation and strength to work with more efficiency and hard-work,” says Rizwan.

“Our customers get in touch with us via Facebook page Corn on the go. They direct message or call us  on the contact number provided to get the exact location of carts. Presently the carts are gas operated and will be upgraded to solar power in future.”

The duo believes that Kashmir’s unemployment problem can be eradicated only by self employment.

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