As a Technology Access Centre, WIMTACH is committed to providing opportunities for students and faculty to grow their networks and gain experiential learning by working on applied research projects in the digital health sector. And to strengthen those experiential learning opportunities, WIMTACH partners with SMEs that demonstrate a capacity to innovate as well as an investment in collaborative approaches to business challenges. One of those partners, Mama’s Life Products, came directly from a Centennial College employee named Ahmed Bawah.
Bawah’s company, Mama’s Life Products Ltd. (MLP), Canadian family business company, was founded in 2007. It wholesales and retails natural health and beauty products such as shea butter, black soap, essential oils and more throughout the country. Since its inception, it has experienced tremendous growth in revenue and reach. However, the company needed a way to make its products and services more available on web and mobile applications to manage the growing demand.
As a recipient of 15 CVTA vouchers, each worth $10,000, WIMTACH selected MLP to receive a voucher after learning more about their business challenge, future endeavours and technical needs. The company’s commitment to environmental, ethical and sustainable business practices it takes to produce its products aligned with WIMTACH’s investment in health innovation.
After many meetings and negotiations, the project began late last year and continued on into May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty of this pandemic, which has caused all Centennial students to work and study exclusively from home, made the project even more important to complete.
“For the first few months our client would visit us and check on our progress twice a week at WIMTACH office but due to this pandemic WIMTACH have changed to a work from home model and we have been meeting with the client on zoom like once a week but as we are at the end of the project we didn’t quite need the feedback of the client that much because we are just fixing some bugs on the project,” said Anmol Gill, one of six students who worked on the project as a web developer.
For MLP, WIMTACH created an e-commerce website with the latest web functionalities and a release build for an accompanying Android and iOs mobile application. The team included six students with front-end development, back-end development, mobile and web application development and general software development experience.
The project served as a new learning experience that they could use to increase their employability, soft skills and general understanding of their future careers in their chosen industries.
“I was building the Admin Panel necessary in order to make the website dynamic allowing the administrator to publish the latest content (products, blogs and much more)…I learned that it is important to have dynamicity for an e-commerce and to gain the attention of the customer using the correct colors and images, in order create the wanted feeling while they visit our e-commerce. Working on this project enhanced my skills in web development and merchandising as I was in contact with someone expert in selling and marketing,” explains Akshay Kumar, a Computer Software Engineering student in his last year of studies.
Keshav Joshi, another student on the project, learned how to think differently and embrace different approaches to applied research projects: “In this project, the most important thing that I have learned is how the minor details play a very important role in building a real life application. Small changes like color, structure and designs sometimes create a big development.”
To face the changing economic realities, Canadian businesses have to find innovative ways to support themselves, including hiring employees with needed skill sets. Despite the changes the pandemic has brought, WIMTACH has remained committed to student learning and experience that will strengthen their networks and support their future careers. For businesses, this means more personnel to continue business, including applied research projects.
Mohammad Bakir, a first-time WIMTACH Student Researcher on the MLP project, best summarizes this advantage for both students and companies with a statement about his own experience:
“I have learned the right practices in coding from my colleagues, and listening to their experience in work helped me to avoid many mistakes as a beginner…I noticed that my communication skill had improved significantly and definitely noticed how much improvement had added to my personal life…The client was pretty happy after seeing his final website and we are very proud of our work. We were very happy after seeing the client fully satisfied and I would remember this project for my whole life as this was my first software project and the skills that I learnt from this project would certainly improve my career in the future.”
For more information about Mama’s Life Products, please visit: http://mamaslifeproducts.com/
For more about WIMTACH’s services and expertise, please visit: https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/services/
WIMTACH proudly recognizes funding to support this work from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).