Redza Shahid is the CEO and Co-founder of Grub Cycle
. He has led Grub Cycle in reducing more than 10,000kgs of food from being wasted by selling edible surplus food at bargain price. Redza was part of the ‘millennial future of Southeast Asia’ panel at the 2019 WA-ASEAN Trade and Investment Dialogue
. The event explored
how connectivity can support deeper economic ties between Western Australia and its regional neighbours and aimed to understand the current patterns and future opportunities for economic connectivity between Western Australia and Southeast Asia. The dialogue brought together leading representatives from government, business and youth in WA and its key Southeast Asian economic partners to promote the economic capacities of Western Australia, and discuss the benefits and opportunities from deeper connectivity with Southeast Asia.
Redza on stage at the 2019 WA ASEAN Dialogue.
Interviewer: We asked you last year what you thought of the future of ASEAN, since the COVID-19 pandemic has your prediction changed, and if so how?
For me, the future of ASEAN has always been the same, whether it's pre-pandemic or post-pandemic. Probably the timeline is a bit slower now due to the slow economic behaviour in the last few months but I do foresee more and more businesses heading into digitalisation which will assist in raising the awareness of businesses and penetration towards other countries in South East Asia.
With that mentioned, it's a great opportunity now for all youth to start exploring ASEAN relations for multiple reasons. First, is learning from each other. Every country has a different way of handling issues, therefore by learning from each other, it shortens the process of validation.
Secondly is collaboration, because by working together, ideas can flow easily and therefore they will be able to come out with more variety of solutions for their problems.
Redza with CEO Gordon Flake and other panellists at the Dialogue.
Third, with the technology that we have right now, a peer to peer discussion is just a click away. The pandemic period has seen the rise of video communication and it's already become a norm, and with more people working from home the difference in time zones will not be a big issue in communicating with other countries in the ASEAN region.
Interviewer: For our readers who don’t know your company, how did Grub Cycle come about, and what does the company hope to achieve?
Grub Cycle started in 2016 with the aim of reaching zero edible leftover food by 2050 in Malaysia. As of right now, we waste almost 3,000 tonnes of edible food every day which could feed 2.2 million people with three meals a day. So we started to work from two different angles. One, is creating an app to connect surplus edible food from restaurants and bakeries to consumers by selling it at a 50% discounted rate from market price. The second one, which is creating a bigger impact in multiple areas, is by working with farmers on their overproduced and unique shaped vegetables. We collect this produce and sell it to lower income communities at a 70% discounted price. We also employ people within the community itself to be our seller agent at their respective places.
So we reduce food waste, which helps the farmers, while also helping to reduce financial burdens for the low income communities.
Interviewer: What changes have you had to make, due to the pandemic?
The pandemic has actually helped us in a number of ways. We help farmers to still earn extra income during this tough period, as it’s not just low income communities, but everyone who is looking to reduce their financial burden by buying cheaper fresh vegetables since many had to take a pay cut or lost their jobs. And lastly, through all this, we still managed to stop almost 500kgs a week of vegetables from being thrown away.
Interviewer: Why is Western Australia an important connection for businesses like yours in ASEAN?
Since my last visit to Western Australia, I noticed that there's so much similarity in both the customers and economic behaviour.
What we do in Malaysia can totally be implemented in Western Australia and not to forget, food waste is already a big issue anywhere in the world.
We know there's already a demand and we see similar ideas like Grub Cycle have already started to bloom in Western Australia. What we are looking for is not to open Grub Cycle on it's own but to collaborate and joint venture with a similar start-up so that both companies can learn from each other and increase growth in our respective countries.
Redza with the ASEAN conference speakers at Optus Stadium, Perth Western Australia.
Redza Shahid is the CEO and Co-founder of Grub Cycle. He has led Grub Cycle in reducing more than 10,000kgs of food from being wasted by selling edible surplus food at a bargain price. Prior to Grub Cycle, Redza’s accounting background landed him a three year stint at WorleyParsons focusing on finance in the oil and gas industry, before eventually using his expertise with numbers to help start-ups at an Angel Investment company that looks for promising start-ups to invest in. Armed with two years of start-up investment experience, he decided to join an accelerator program to validate his idea and officially launched Grub Cycle after two months. He believes in building a sustainable social enterprise ecosystem supported by an active community. Redza speaks at various social enterprise events and has participated in multiple global competitions such as Pitch at Palace Commonwealth edition which he was pitching in front of the Duke of York in 2018.