The Chief Executive Officer of Parkville Corporate Solutions, Fola Ige, in this interview with Sunday Ehigiator, he speaks on how Parkville Ride, a car rental company and also a subsidiary of Parkville Corporate Solutions, is orchestrating transformative solutions in the Nigeria transportation sector.
Take us through your career and work trajectory
In 2003, I relocated to Canada for academic pursuits and earned a Bachelor’s in Geophysics from Carleton University. I subsequently completed a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University and a postgraduate degree in Project Management from the University of Toronto. Over the last 15 years, I have held various technical and management roles within the energy/oil and gas industry, and more recently in the standards and product regulatory sector. This diverse experience has leveraged my expertise in strategic decision-making and drive for business growth, which has catalysed the inception of Parkville Ride.
Despite your vast experience in the oil and gas industry, what informed your decision to divest into the transportation industry?
Upon leaving Nigeria as a teenager 20 years ago, a persistent desire to return and effect a positive change has remained strong. However, it wasn’t until the last five years during my visits, that I discerned gaps and opportunities for improvement in the private transportation sector. This revelation ignited my passion for developing innovative solutions to address the needs of Nigerian citizens, fostering a robust entrepreneurial interest in the transportation business.
How is Parkville Ride reshaping the transportation sector in Nigeria?
Parkville is orchestrating a transformation in Nigeria’s transportation sector by prioritising reliability, safety, and affordability. We’re putting an end to the practice of utilising poorly maintained vehicles on the road; a shift that might challenge others in the transport business positively. Additionally, we recognise that transportation is a crucial part of the economy, and it is important that it is accessible to the Nigerian citizen and affordable.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are becoming increasingly important. How does Parkville Ride incorporate eco-friendly practices into its operations?
Parkville Ride is dedicated to environmental responsibility and sustainability by incorporating eco-friendly practices into its operations. While we acknowledge the global success of hybrid vehicles, we are aware of the current challenges in Nigeria, including infrastructure limitations. However, we are exploring the integration of eco-friendly vehicles, understanding the potential positive impact on reducing carbon emissions. Recognising the hazards of high carbon emissions to human health and the associated mortality rates, Parkville Ride aims to gradually implement green alternatives as technology and infrastructure evolve in Nigeria. Our commitment lies not only in providing efficient transportation but also in contributing to a healthier and more sustainable future for our communities.
Can you share insights into your future expansion plans and potential new services or features for Parkville Ride users?
Parkville Ride is barely 6-months old, and I find myself marvelling at its success thus far. Yet, I know the real magic lies in the unwavering hard work of our dedicated team. Our plans involve expanding into new markets, with Parkville Ride fully embracing the bustling city life in Lagos and other parts of the country. We’re not just stopping there; innovative features are in the works to elevate the user experience, ensuring Parkville Ride is at the forefront of the evolving transportation landscape.
As an investor in Nigeria, what are some of the bottlenecks you are facing in the country and how can this be resolved?
In the human sphere, there’s a common chorus of complaints about a flawed system, I want to clarify that I’m not asserting that our system is flawless, especially when viewed from my background. The essence of my observation is that many individuals lack discipline, integrity, and motivation.
People want a job, but most times they aren’t fully ready for it. The challenge of finding reliable and well-motivated people can be quite overwhelming. Let’s delve into the aspect of our backwardness, even the simplest tasks, like fixing an account for the company, can feel like an uphill battle. Safety concerns add another layer. If our vehicle encounters a gang of robbers, there’s little that can be done in the heat of the moment. Our government must enhance safety measures in the country. In the bigger picture, our nation needs more robust rules and laws to steer us in the right direction. As an investor in Nigeria, addressing bureaucratic bottlenecks is crucial for a conducive business environment. Streamlining processes and enhancing regulatory efficiency can significantly contribute to a more investor-friendly climate.
Power remains a major challenge in Nigeria, despite huge investments in the sector, what can be done differently to uninterrupted power?
Getting a stable power supply in Nigeria is tough and it’s indeed a complex issue. Even with lots of money invested, we are still struggling to have constant electricity. To address this, a multifaceted approach is needed, involving a thorough review of existing infrastructure, increased investment in renewable energy sources, and the implementation of innovative technologies. Additionally, improving governance, reducing bureaucratic hurdles, and fostering public-private partnerships can contribute to creating a more sustainable and reliable power supply. It’s not a quick fix; we need both short-term and long-term plans to change how we get power in the country.
How do you think the transportation sector can be a catalyst for job creation for the unemployed youth?
The transportation sector serves as a dynamic catalyst for substantial job creation, especially for unemployed youth. Beyond the evident roles of drivers and mechanics, there are diverse opportunities for those who demonstrate competence and a strong work ethic. Positions ranging from Sales Representatives and Business Developers to Customer Service Representatives and Administrative staff contribute significantly to the sector’s growth. By tapping into these multifaceted job avenues, the transportation industry not only addresses unemployment but also fosters a diverse and skilled workforce that can drive innovation and efficiency in the sector. This comprehensive approach not only meets the immediate demand for jobs but also supports sustained economic development.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to positively impact the transportation sector?
For budding entrepreneurs in the transportation industry or any field, there are instances when your idea might be ahead of its time, and people may not immediately grasp or comprehend your vision. Stay unwavering in your commitment, persist with your idea, and over time, it will find alignment. Creating a positive impact demands a tenacious spirit of not giving up despite the challenges and discouragements. Furthermore, embrace innovation and consistently prioritize customer satisfaction and safety in all your endeavours.