Supporting the Information Needs of Mobile Microentrepreneurs in the Developing World: The Case of Indonesian Food Cart Vendors

Rahmad Dawood, Steven J Jackson, Jude Yew
ICTD 2010

This paper describes an ongoing research project exploring the business practices of mobile entrepreneurs, specifically mobile food vendors, and the potential use of location aware and mobile phone-based application to support their information needs. Mobile food vendors are a ubiquitous phenomenon in the developing world and can be seen hawking their wares in carts, bicycles, or motorcycles. In this paper we report findings from 28 interviews around business practices, challenges, personal histories, and economic wellbeing among mobile food vendors and 10 of their customers from five major Indonesian cities. Based on these findings, we point to characteristics and features of a mobile phone-based application that will enable these vendors to advertise their current location, accept orders from customers, enable customers’ recommendation of vendors, and inform fellow vendors of various special events.