Majid Tokurah, who is the Co-Founder, WeMove Technologies, in this interview speaks on the role technology-driven logistics and transportation solutions contributes towards connecting products and services to consumers. Hamid Ayodeji presents the excerpts:
What motivated you to become a logistics entrepreneur?
My journey to logistics entrepreneurship started five years ago, when I attended an agricultural conference in Abuja, I got a request to supply sorghum seeds in trucks for a research institute in Ibadan at the event. After making all necessary consultations and back and forth to truck engagements, I couldn’t really conclude in making the necessary arrangements due to price variations. This was my first time moving goods. The challenges with unstructured and unreliable supply chain players helped me to get familiar with the processes involved. This experience motivated me towards partnering with my friend, a software engineer full time.
Taking a look at the current economic climate in Nigeria compared to developed parts of the world regarding how they leveraged on technology in order to grow their economy, how will you advice stakeholders to infuse technology to develop the country’s economy at a faster pace?
Nigeria’s’ ICT sector has grown since 2001 from less than one percent in GDP to almost 10 percent today. Despite Nigeria’s’ infrastructural deficiencies private institutions have been able to attract technology investments with figures actually surpassing South Africa, raising a total of 94.9 million dollars. Even though the business climate in Nigeria is hampered by infrastructural deficiencies, government policies, regulatory issues among others; technology driven firms still deliver services for healthcare, agriculture, finance, education, e-commerce, retail related services, transportation and logistics. But other local businesses that cannot raise major international investments rely instead on family and professional networks.
The government, private sectors and other stakeholders must take deliberate strategic steps and decide to infuse and implement new technologies within organisations, stating the importance of digitisation within institutions in achieving business and economic growth across all sectors of the economy and this should be done through policy engagements with the private sector and other stakeholders.
What sort of work philosophy is WeMove based on, and how were you able to discover and put together the right team so as to upscale the brand up until this point?
We are dedicated to the use of our platform to contribute to the culture, benefits and welfare of people throughout the world who need to access transportation and logistics services on a daily basis. Hence, our work philosophy and value revolves on leadership, reliability, trust, efficiency, attention to results, punctuality and timeliness, continuous improvement and innovation, as well as social responsibilities and ethics.
On building the right team, the success of a business depends on the team you create. At WeMove, trust is at the core foundation of our positive work culture. Hence, we identify individuals who share the same vision and energy so as to get the job done.
Our future prosperity is also directly linked to the prosperity of our customers, partners, agents and shareholders indeed the entire WeMove family. So, we do all it takes to make them happy.
What initiative is WeMove implementing in order to expand the capacity of its operations so as to reach a larger target audience?
WeMove is expanding capacity for anyone interested through an opportunity designed to empower persons within African cities to set up and run their own transportation logistics business. Now you can become an independent distribution agent by contacting us through our platforms stating your interest to becoming a WeMove distribution agent in Nigeria. Currently, WeMove works with business organisations to interface with their transportation services providing access to vehicles including buses, trucks, sedan cars, bus vans to mention a few. We also work with FMCGs or retail outlets that need to move their products on a daily basis.
How receptive has the society been towards your firm?
We appreciate the support we have gotten from our friends within the information and communications technology (ICT) industry; tourism industry and the agricultural industry, because without their support we would not have been in business. We boast to have serviced some of the top names within each of these business segments and industry. However, we are looking to secure more businesses from other organisations.
Transportation, haulage and logistics are an essential part of human activities, and in many ways form the basis for all socio economic interactions. So far so good, it is a service everyone needs, especially as everyone needs to commute themselves and their goods daily from one place to another.
How has WeMove been able to give back to the society?
WeMove supports local transportation businesses by facilitating business trips transactions worth millions of naira through its platforms. Our transportation solution platform, WeMove Books provides weekly reports of how an organization’s transportation business has performed over the course of every week. Also, WeMove in other to promote tourism in Africa launched Rally WeMove, which features tourism destinations for staff of business organisations and provides discounts for staff anytime they opt in to take trips to tourist destinations. We are passionate about promoting tourism in Africa and encouraging organisations to get their staff incentive through beautiful tour trip destinations. WeMove in the past has given back by supporting some tourism events among other causes.
From your experience what makes up a successful and sustainable entrepreneur?
For most of the time I have learnt running a business is not for the faint hearted. There are too many variables to contend with, most of the time they are not envisaged by a business plan. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of self-motivation, passion, hard work, optimism and decisiveness.
More so, sustainable entrepreneurship requires you to constantly look for innovative ways to improve your current societal condition by providing new products and services or methods that reduce detrimental activities while also generating profits for the entrepreneur. Sustainable entrepreneurship requires identifying how users currently engage with their industry and developing solutions to the challenges.
How were you able to overcome the challenge of capital which has continued to hinder a lot of start-ups in the continent?
Access to capital is critical to growth of our entrepreneurial economy. Nigeria has an estimated 37 million micro, small and medium size companies (MSMEs) contributing over 48 per cent to the GDP and employing over 60 million. Nigerian’s battles with high interest rates to loan capital from financial institutions and the mistrust from local investors has forced stiff control of local investments. Businesses prefer raising funds through personal savings, family and friends, grants. Etc. When we started the WeMove business, funds were mostly bootstrapped before we fortunately secure angel investment.
From experience of doing business in Nigeria I have discovered the best way to grow a business is through customer funds growing the revenue. When there is no paying customer eventually there will be no business.