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GO Platform: The first opportunity discovery platform for youths in Algeria – Abdellah Aouf

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Abdellah AOUF is the Founder & CEO at Global Opportunities, the first opportunity discovery platform for youths in Algeria that has been ranked as one of the best 100 Startup in Africa by the world bank and Egyptian Government. He is a 27-year-old young Leader Entrepreneur from the City of Roses in Algeria, who is passionate about Entrepreneurship, Business, Branding, innovation, Empowering others and making a positive impact in the society. In this interview with  Alaba Ayinuola  of Business Africa Online, he talked about how his platform is helping young people realize their dreams by promoting a “Can Do” mindset, and develop self-confidence and entrepreneurship skills. Excerpt.

 

Alaba: Kindly tell us about GO Platform and the gap its filling.

Abdellah: GO Platform is the First opportunity discovery platform for all youth in Algeria. Many of them have trusted us as the most effective and easy to use platform to find the most relevant opportunities for low cost and search for important academic and professional contents for continuous self-development.

Besides offering opportunities to obtain useful international experience, The GO Platform helps young people realize their dreams by promoting a “Can Do” mindset, and develop self-confidence and entrepreneurship skills exactly when they need it the most, in their twenties.

We have always believed that university education is very important for the development of our youth, but it remains far from enough to fulfill the need of today’s work standards in our highly competitive and globalized world. Our Go Platform opportunities program provides that advantage on top of the college degree that makes graduates more skilled and experienced making them better prepared for the challenges to come in the professional world.

 

Alaba: What was your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

Abdellah: After being awarded as one of the best 100 Startups in Africa by the World Bank and Egyptian Government, and nominated by the UNESCO for potential recipient for the youth citizen entrepreneurship. We started with creating a Facebook page that offers the different opportunities. After a while we succeeded in raising capital from the government in a first step for something new in Algeria for 50.000 USD as a loan with no interests which has helped us to scale up very fast.

 

Alaba: As a startup, what are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Abdellah: As a startup we face challenges daily, but the most challenges that are holding us back are the government legislations. Since it treats the big companies as the same as SME’s and startups which is not motivating.  Also bureaucracy in all the different markets.

To overcome these challenges, we are more perseverance and persistent in making things happens, we are always looking for a network that can make us more closely to make our voice heard by the government people that are in decision making positions. We are working on Eliminate paperwork whenever possible; Cut out processes, Empower people, Keep “Action” at our forefront.

 

Alaba: How does your organisation measure its impact?

Abdellah: We have been the first startup that is making a real impact in the Algerian ecosystem by sharing the different opportunities for the youth and professionals as well; We have changed the ecosystem to an altruistic one. We measure our impact with different indicators; we start by Selecting and monitoring a set of figures as indicators of impact. A key issue will be causation – proving a link between statistical evidence and the research.

  • Search: We search to Understand the environment in which impact may occur.
  • Evaluate: Develop evaluation questions based on this knowledge.
  • Identify:  Identify appropriate data collection methods for both qualitative and quantitative techniques.
  • Consider: the impact evaluation is for a REF impact case study, and we consider the REF impact case study guidance and structure.
  • Research: We re-do the same process to find better ways to make more impact.

 

Alaba: What’s the future for GO Platform and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Abdellah: Our vision is to lead the African opportunities in every country “as well as the sub Saharan countries” by building relations and partnerships and provide the right of information for the African youth.

 

Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

Abdellah: I believe that our contribution to the African continent is by developing her youth and providing the different opportunities that will:

  • Decrease poverty in the rural areas and lower illegal immigration.
  • Improve the quality of education by interacting which will have an impact in educating societies and reduce violance.
  • Ensure gender equality.
  • Foster the economic growth:

1 – Attracting opportunities providers to invest in the African youth.

2 – Provide equal opportunities for everyone that will impact the development of the economic countries.

  • Enhance social justice in the African continent.

 

Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?

Abdellah: As an African entrepreneur I feel blessed to be African and very happy to be a part of the African development by empowering the youth and communities, also to leave a footprint even if it’s just a small one for now.

 

Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?

Abdellah: It is a reality that the African continent is facing a lot of challenges that are responsible for the low rate of economic development and growth in African countries. But regardless these challenges, the African continent is a gold mine of talents and resources, every problem is an opportunity for a sustainable business.

My Advice for the prospecting entrepreneurs and investors is “Be the first, or someone will.”

 

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Abdellah: Once in a while i go with my friends for hiking in the mountain and explore the Algerian nature. Also I read a lot of business books as:

  • from zero to one by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
  • Think and Grow rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Rich dad, poor dad by by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
  • The Art of war by Sun Tzu

 

Alaba: Please teach us one word in your home language and your favorite local dish?

Abdellah: Algeria is a North African country and its language is a mixture of Arabic, French and Amazigh, the word Algeria in our language is El Djazair which in English is the plural of island “Islands”. My favorite local dish is called Mtewem which is meat balls, chickpea with a spicy sauce that can be eaten with bread.

 

Alaba: What’s your favorite holiday spot in your country? Why?

Abdellah: My favorite spot in Algeria Is Tamenghasset which is a saharian city in Algeria. I think it’s the best spot for me because I find it a spiritual place for me to relax and re-boost my energy to focus more.

Also Read SMEs: Before you sign that deed of guarantee | Morenike Okebu

His Bio:

Abdellah AOUF is a 27-year-old young Leader Entrepreneur from the City of Roses in Algeria, who is passionate about Entrepreneurship, Business, Branding, innovation, Empowering others and making a positive impact in the society.

He’s the Country Director at Oya Opportunities, the Founder & CEO at Global Opportunities that been ranked by one of the best 100 Startup in Africa by the world bank and Egyptian Government and nominated to many prizes, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the International Development House, National Coordinator at Team 54 Project Algeria, World Summit Award National Expert, Ambassador at Parvati.org, UN Volunteer, Goodwill Ambassador at GGA, a Country Representative at World Merit, Campus Director at Hult Prize Foundation and Head Professor at University of Blida.

Also he is an influencer Speaker who uses the Sustainable Development Goals in order to establish the world peace, Recipient of “Global Youth Leadership Award 2019” by the Global Youth Parliament, Nominated as potential recipient of the ELIASSON Global Leadership Prize, Speaker at Wikistage Skikda, Wikistage Ziania and Wikistage Affroun, He has an 8 years work experience in Many field ” Business development – Educator – Coach – Executive Sales Representative  – Administrative Manager…….ect” He was the Co-Founder of Al Kindi Physics Club and he was an Social & Cultural Activist in many Clubs & associations ” AIESEC – AL Kindi – Le Souk – Touiza – Lions – Rotaract” in many positions as “Organizer committee president -Organize Committee Member – External relations…… ect”  For Now, he’s a Coach in Many national and international events  as ‘’Startup Weekend HEC, Startup Weekend ENP, ’Startup Weekend Woman, ’Startup Weekend Cirta, Startup Weekend Sidi Belabess, Startup Weekend Bejaia, Excellence Bootcamp ……..ect’’, Mentor at Mentor Africa Project, Mentor at Africa is Calling you.

Visit GO Platform today!

 

Afripreneur

Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

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The private bike-sharing ecosystem is beginning to gain momentum in Africa, most especially in Nigeria. Although not new to the dense Asian cities and some parts of Europe. Some Nigerian startups are now exploring this new business model. Such startup testing the waters is Cycles, as it’s redefining the way people commute within tertiary institutions, communities and cities. Using an efficient, fun and healthy means of transport, building better people, communities and a greener earth. In this interview,  Alaba Ayinuola  of Business Africa Online spoke with Damilola Soladoye, the co-founder and CEO of Cycles, to know more about the brand good start and insights into the bike-sharing business in Nigeria. Excerpts.

 

Alaba: Tell us about Cycles and the gap it’s filling.

Damilola: Cycles is a mobility startup solving last mile transportation inefficiencies in Nigerian and African Universities, Estates and communities with our smart and efficient bicycle sharing system.

We are filling the gap of last mile transportation in communities where multiple transportation options do not exist or are not sufficient.

 

Alaba: What’s your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

Damilola: Currently, we have raised over $5000 dollars in equity free grants majorly from the Fbstart accelerator from Facebook in partnership with Co-creation Hub. Asides this most of our capital has been bootstrapped till date with personal funds from team members.

 

Alaba: What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?

Damilola: Our major challenge is the pace of adoption by our target community. Most University and estate management have been slow to adopt our solution. This is purely bureaucratic as some tend to see our solution as a direct competition with the already existing means of transportation which they currently have on the ground.

It has been daunting, but we are gradually overcoming these challenges by presenting our solution as a complement to the already existing transport options and also offering our bicycle sharing system at no cost to the community. Instead, the community generates revenue off our system through a revenue share model.

 

Alaba: How’s your brand making mobility and logistics safe, accessible and affordable?

Damilola: Globally, bicycle sharing is widely adopted in many major cities, communities and Universities all over the world. This is no surprise because cycling is a green, healthy and sustainable means of mobility. It is so because it removes the human factor of having a driver and burning fuel to make it more affordable for the end user.

It is also an accessible system as it is available 24/7 in any community deployed in. To boost safety on our system we are working closely with officials from Institute of Transport Development Policy (ITDP) and Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to ensure compliance with global safety and stand practices

Also Read Startups: The Ideal Partnership Agreement

Alaba: How’s your brand different and unique to other brands in the bike-sharing business?

Damilola: At cycles, what makes us unique is our passion for building green and sustainable mobility solutions coupled with a particular focus for providing great user experiences with our technology.

Alaba: What’s the future for Cycles and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Damilola: The future for Cycles is to place Africa on the global mico-mobility map by flooding African communities with sustainable mobility systems. We are taking steps to achieve this daily through partnerships with both local and international organisations to augment our growth.

 

Alaba: How’s the government supporting startups and SME in your Nigeria?

Damilola: The Government has been supporting startups and SME’s in Nigeria, though I strongly believe more can be done. The future of Nigeria and Africa lies in part in its entrepreneurs and the more government involvement in this sector, the more accelerated growth is bound to occur in the country.

 

Alaba: What’s your view on the development of Africa logistics and mobility ecosystem?

Damilola: The logistics and mobility ecosystem is accelerating at a mammoth pace. Safe to say that with the recent rounds of investments in logistics/mobility-related startups, I believe massive disruption is said to happen in the coming years and more investment is said to be attracted to this sector.

Though a major set back in my opinion would be infrastructure. This has and will always be a major roadblock for any logistics/mobility-related business and Government should begin to intervene appropriately.

 

Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?

Damilola: Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but in general, I derive joy from knowing that I am a change agent on a mission to develop and change my continent even in the little way I can.

 

Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?

Damilola: My advice to potential entrepreneurs or investors interested in the African space would be to see Africa as a very daunting and challenging market to penetrate. This might sound cliche, but in comparison to other markets of the world, Africa’s market poses so many challenges from infrastructure, the ecosystem to customers in total.

It takes courage, time and grit to build a business in Africa and every stakeholder involved in this such be aware as this would drive their expectations, timelines and overall outlook of the market in the end.

 

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Damilola: I relax mostly by watching movies and I read motivational books.

 

Alaba: Please teach us one word in your home language and your favourite local dish?

Damilola: “Siṣẹ”, this means work! My favourite dish is pounded yam and egusi soup.

 

Alaba: What’s your favourite holiday spot on the continent?

Damilola: My favourite holiday spot on the continent would be the pyramids of Egypt.

 

Damilola Soladoye and his team.

 

Short Bio:

Damilola Soladoye is a passionate and self-motivated individual interested in technology, mobility and solving societal problems. A first class graduate of Covenant University and alumni of the premier cohort of the Fbstart accelerator program from Facebook in collaboration with Co-creation Hub, Nigeria.

 

Visit Cycles today

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Afripreneur

6 Reasons Why Culture Is Important For Startup Growth (Case Study: SmartCodes)

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When I was in Harvard Business School, I learnt a lot regarding how to operate profitable businesses by not only making just a business grow and expand in different markets but also to make an impact to your clients and customers. Being in the US as Harvard student for couple of weeks was major shift on my perception about what growth is, and how we Africans are not taking advantage of what we have.

Hence fast forward, I would like to share with the startup community on why culture should be most important part for the growth of your business and why it’s important to let everyone involve on the process.

 

1. Conduct a proper SWOT analysis within your Industry

I am not a huge fan of questions like “who are your competitors” as I believe everyone has a purpose. If you know whereyou’re going and take an important challenge to venture in new opportunities, you will find yourself focusing more on delivering solutions to your customers and less looking on what others are doing. For us, we have different competitors in different category as our company structured to implement solutions for tech, advertising, products and venture in helping startups and collaborate with other corporate, hence SWOT is important as it will make you see all sort of weakness and threats and use your strength as a checklist to combat them and grow faster.

 

2. Use your SWOT results to review your company vision

After sitting with your team and review all the SWOT results, it’s very important now to strategically review your vision, mission and purpose that will inspire everyone to deliver and know why they should workup in the morning and execute their task. This was one of the great exercises we did at Smart Codes and we involved everyone from our top managers to the supporting teams’ even drivers to security team, and collectively we awesomely re-define our purpose. The major key question to everyone was on defining our WHY which was the light to our PURPOSE. As a result, we find our main purpose was to make a mark in their project we touch and help our client’s grow.

 

3. Train your dragons

During the SWOT process, you must measure the culture from strength to weakness and immediately invest more on your weak holes so as to train the team to be better than themselves. There is no better investment than training and empowering your existing team vs trying to hire the new one which they won’t really understand your purpose at one place unless your growth need new wings and hence add one to grow faster.

Even at SC, after strategically knowing our focus was to expand in other African markets, we immediately started collaborating with top talented experts in different African markets. We inspired our teamthat, with this digital age of transformation, you can do anything it’s just you need to plan and have courage to execute it. I remember we once invited Stanbic’s CIO, Mussa Ally to come and we did amazing workshop with our team on how they can grow their career. This was not just for Smart Codes but most importantly was for their own career growth. This was done to train them to think BIG by eating an elephant in bit by bit instead of thinking or eating chips-mayai which no-one will get a wow factor from you as a person.

We have also worked closely with great minds like Max Ngari – one of the top creative people in Africa who won many awards such as the Cannes Lions awards.

 

4. Break your Vision into objective goals

The major learning here is, knowing how to eat an Elephant. You need to break down this elephant goal into small tasks and assign each team member to deal with a few tasks. For example, at Smart Codes we don’t have KPIs but we have objective goals plan at which each team members knows what part are they executing, hence it has helped to have smooth execution and objectives which define timelines. That has been a success for us, as it works better that, just calling them KPIs.

 

5. Show your client and partners your vision and purpose

Showing it’s not an easy task, but I remember one of my Professors who was teaching us about the implementation of “Diffusion of innovations”. This shows the baby steps of implementing anything new, you would 1st need to know your “Innovators” – People who will be willing to listen and then “Early Adopters” – which are more of opinion leaders, which are those around your Industry ecosystem. Surprisingly when we implemented our new VISION at Smart Codes, everyone got it and mostly we have seen people starting to add our key purpose “Making a Mark” in their hashtags, and “UNTIL ITS DONE” which is our infinity journey.

Also Read: Startups: The Ideal Partnership Agreement

6. Share your small wins with everyone

The major thing most people have is selfishness, most of people are fearing to share their ideas and success because of competitors will know theirs moves, rather than looking at the mirror of sharing skills and opinions to help other grow the same way they did. Sharing most of the things we do at Smart Codes have been a major key growth from our team, as we know, only by sharing and open doors for outsiders to comment it’s a two way learning, and it has been an incredible growth within our team and we have even seen it via our Innovation wing at SmartLab.

I remember one of or my classmate was inspiring using a phone brand called “ONE-PLUS” and when we asked, She says that brand helped to push her dreams because all the time she switch the phone-on its pop a message says “NEVER SETTLE” then I get that this A1 culture have been a major shift of growth at OnePlus’ fanbase. Let’s share our success and failures so others can learn and also collect opinions from outsiders that will only impacting our growth.

I never thought culture was a very big thing, but as Strive Masiyiwa says “believe you me” until you practice it,its when you will see the results. And it’s important to impact your life with adding more books in your reading list and try to implement those learnings in your real life to measure growth results.Lastly, reading is the only way you can get a chance to learn new skills, as we all know “you can only give the output of what you know” and knowledge is collectively inputs and output of your interest.

I am looking forward to share more and please also share your growth list via the comment section below, so we can all learn from you as well and collectively we can MAKE A MARK across our African ecosystem.

 

Author

Edwin Bruno is the Founder and CEO at SmartCodes

 

 

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Afripreneur

Coverdor: An insurtech providing digital insurance experience targeted at millennial and emerging generation

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Seun Ayegbusi is the Founder and CEO at Coverdor, a Lagos based and Nigeria’s first fully digital insurance platform, providing insurance when you need it the most, entirely online. Seun and his team believe insurance is not just a fancy product, but A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT everyone deserves, especially in Nigeria and Africa where the level of risks and uncertainties we face is really high.  In this interview with  Alaba Ayinuola  of Business Africa Online, Seun shed more light on his brand tend to simplify the insurance experience and create easy accessibility to social benefiting insurance products in every emerging market they serve. Excerpt.

 

 

Alaba: Kindly tell us about Coverdor and the gap it’s filling.

Seun: Coverdor is an AI-powered digital insurance distribution platform focused on insurance coverage for everyday items like smartphone, laptops etc against mechanical, liquid, accidental damages and theft. Coverdor also enables service providers (retail stores and ecommerce websites) cross-sell add-on gadget insurance on every consumer gadgets sold at their online or offline point of sale.

We discovered that although insurance was created for the fundamental good of society in indemnifying against risks and uncertainties, however the industry lacks the technology and innovation to connect to the retail market segment (the millennial demographic) who are more risk-prone and expects to interact with insurers and insurance products the exact way they interact with any online business who offers them convenience when shopping online.

Hence, Coverdor is filling the gap of complex, paper-based, delayed and manual processes experienced in the conventional insurance system to deliver a completely digital insurance experience for the average upward-mobile millennial offering innovative insurance products that fit their lifestyle.

 

Alaba: What was your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

Seun: Our startup capital was in excess of $20,000 and was sourced through savings committed from founders and funds raised from family and friends.

 

Alaba: What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?

Seun: Talking about challenges we encountered while innovating within the insurance industry can’t be over stretched, one of which is compliance with NAICOM’s regulation, which I must say is the biggest challenge we have faced however, working closely with our partner insurance company has helped us and is constantly helping us to navigate this issue.

 

Alaba: How is your startup different from other financial startups?

Seun: Coverdor is a lot different from any other fintech startup as the category of financial services sector we operate in differs from the categories other fintech startups operate within, especially within the payment, lending, asset management categories. However, Coverdor on the other hand is an insurance technology startup focused on insurance digitization, direct-to-customer  distribution and cross-selling distribution. We also differ from other insurtech categories that focus on insurance price comparison.

 

Alaba: What’s the future for your startup and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Seun: The future of Coverdor is to become a full fledged digital insurance company, providing new and innovative insurance products that fits the lifestyle and meet the needs of Nigerian millennials. Also in the next 2-3 years we plan to launch a dedicated technology arm of Coverdor that will focus on core insurance solutions using emerging technologies to redefine core operational areas of insurance business, while advancing the digital transformation of the insurance industry in Nigeria.

 

Alaba: How can governments provide the best support for startups in Africa?

Seun: The government can do a lot in supporting startups in Africa, however, top on the list will be creating enabling policies to foster growth for startup across all sectors of the economy.

 

Alaba: What’s your view on the development of Africa InsurTech ecosystem?

Seun: The insurtech ecosystem in Africa is beginning to gain momentum as we witnessing different startups innovating across different points of the insurance value chain, however, to speed up the development, ecosystem players must become deliberate and intentional about fast-tracking development. Incumbent Insurers should set up digital transformation units that will foster partnerships with insurtechs looking to innovate alongside incumbent insurers. Furthermore, we need insurtech-focused accelerators to bolster insurtech startup growth, when these things are done, then the African Insurtech ecosystem will experience similar growth as seen in the US, Europe and Asia.

 

Also Read SMEs: Legal Tips For Office Space Acquisition | Morenike Okebu

 

Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?

Seun: I feel proud to be an African entrepreneur, being part of the people bringing solutions to the many problems Africans are facing in Africa. Also being able to team up with other entrepreneurs to create jobs and contribute to the economy is a great way to live one’s life.

 

Alaba: What advice would you give prospecting entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.

Seun: I will like to tell them that “nothing moves until you move”. There is never a better time to push yourself and kickstart that idea or pet project of yours, work hard to turn it into a great product or service. Three things I think will pull you through are “passion” for what you do or build, “tenacity” to see it succeed and “hope” that you will succeed as well.

 

Alaba: How do you and partners relax and what books do you read?

Seun: All work and no play makes Seun a dull boy, however when I need to relax I hang out with my family, family happy hour does it for me. Then as for books, I read lots of business and personal development books. Top on my list is “My Vision: challenges in the race for excellence” by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 

Alaba: Please teach us one word in your home language and your favorite local dish?

Seun: Has a Yoruba man, I will like to teach you a Yoruba word that says “elubo” translated in English as yam flour.

My favourite local dish as a proud Ondo man is “iyan and efo elegusi with eja kika” translated as pounded yam with melon and vegetable soup with stock fish.

 

Short Bio:

Seun Ayegbusi is a Nigerian-born tech entrepreneur, business development and digital product development expert, and a serial innovator with extensive knowledge of the African emerging markets. A graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, and an alumnus of London Academy Business School. With over six years of experience in the private sector and the tech startup scene and a passion to tackle one of Africa’s most stubborn social development issues birthed the startup – Coverdor.

 

Visit Coverdor today!

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