Mini Mealtimes is the first of its kind. A revolutionary app that allows parents to digitally monitor their children's food intake, breaking down the nutritional information in an easy to understand way.
The app also reads reports that informs parents about their children’s eating habits. All research comes from a team of dieticians and official, published reports.
Mini Mealtimes was founded by Marie Farmer. A mother of one, Marie found her own experience of weaning her son onto solid foods a daunting task. She created the app to offer parents ideas, support and reassurance for feeding their children in a healthy, tracked way.
The app features rave testimonials and reviews from parents,
’The perfect app for a grumbly toddler. This is like a how-to manual and gives me confidence during meals when my wife is away.’
’The results were fascinating, I didn't realise how bad my family’s diet really was till I started using the app. We haven't overhauled our diet, but I've definitely made some changes’
As part of our campaign for #WomenInSMEs we chatted to Marie about her experience as a female founder.
1. Hi Marie, thank you for getting involved in our campaign. Can you start by telling us why you started your business, and tell us about the journey?
If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d start a business, I would’ve said no - and starting one whilst being a mother to a toddler seemed unattainable. But when my son was one I had a literal light bulb moment and the idea for Mini Mealtimes was born.
It took me another two years to source the funding, find the right people to work with, as well as conduct the necessary market research.
2. What have been your greatest successes and challenges to date?
My biggest successes happen whenever I talk to a parent about my app. They light up, they smile, and a sense of relief washes over their faces. Finally someone can relate to their struggles and worries about their children’s eating habits and is offering a solution. I was also immensely proud to have won the Entrepreneurial Barnet Award last year. At that point I just had an idea on paper so it was encouraging to hear that so many people believed in the idea.
It took me a long time to find a team of developers that didn’t cost the earth but that I trusted. And as most of the money I’ve raised has come from my family I’ve had to learn how to boot strap a business. Which has meant working on every aspect of the business at some point by myself.
3. Thanks Marie. And what would be your biggest piece of advice to female entrepreneurs just starting out in business?
Take risks but be patient, that may sound like an oxymoron but I’ve found it to be true. When you start a business for the first time there will be delays, you’ll second-guess yourself, people will try to take advantage of you and you’ll make the wrong decisions. That doesn’t mean you should be down of yourself. If you were an overnight success you wouldn’t learn anything.
Take every setback as a lesson learned and keep going. I’m a big believer in transferable skills so whether your business succeeds or fails, you as an entrepreneur will gain invaluable life skills.
4. Why were you drawn to the campaign, can you offer a comment on why you think it's important?
I love that this campaign is not only championing women who are already successful, although they rock. It’s also championing women who are just starting out. It can feel intimidating when the few examples the media touts are millionaires so it’s nice to hear about the everyday entrepreneur.
When I was younger it didn’t occur to me that owning a business was a viable carrier path. It’s been amazing seeing the influx of women, especially mothers doing just that and I hope it continues.
5. Thank you Marie, we think that’s a really important point! Is there anything else you would like to comment on?
It was only after I started to create Mini Mealtimes that I began hearing things like “how do you find the time” “I could never do something like that” and “I wouldn’t know where to start”. That I realized it was a big deal as a mother to start her own business, with hardly any money; I just discovered a solution to a problem.
And that is why people should start their own business not to make money but to help people. When I read that a balanced diet is critical for a healthy physical and emotional development, especially in the early years, it really spurred me on to keep going. Childhood obesity is at an all-time high in the UK tends indicate this will continue to rise.
There is so much misinformation surrounding nutrition and food that I really hope my app can change that. So far on my journey I’ve met some amazing women founders, mostly in online groups like DIFTK and Blooming Founders. The women in these groups are always keen to give advice, feedback on each other projects and collaborate.
I believe that women can close the gender gap by getting better access to funding, working together with men and being bolder and louder then ever before.
“Healthy eating and being physically active are particularly important for children and adolescents. This is because their nutrition and lifestyle influence their wellbeing, growth and development.”
- Excerpt pulled from published data by the British Nutrition Foundation
Additional sources can be found from the paper published by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition