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gOman: Go Hard or Go Home with Joseph Dankwah, CEO of Yougora

gOman

Many successful people take the road less tread. gOman is one of a kind. In spite of the giants in the deliveries service industry, they still identify a gap encouraging enough to create a business out of.

Joseph explains that gOman is one of the prestigious services offered by their company, Yougora. He continues, ” we have a culture of collective brainstorming a couple of hours every week, we call that our innovative idea session on all subject areas from music, agriculture through tech to religion, we let ourselves think and create solutions for anything we find deserves one. And gOman is a product of one of such sessions.”

Read on as gOman makes the next deliveries of inspiration to your door step right on time.

What do you do as gOman and how long have you been in business?

gOman is just a year old, we enable people to conveniently send and receive delivery packages, monitor their transactions and manage their delivery spending.

Pitch your business to a potential investor.

Problem: We started as an e-commerce business and in many ways we still see ourselves as that. We really just wanted to make e-commerce more fluid, now it’s more than just e-commerce, people need things moved between places, there are not enough players doing the right things, that’s what we aim to correct.
Solution: We have created a delivery service that allows customers to customize their experience, schedule deliveries, and create a payment plan and so on. More than that we also enable you take more control over your deliveries by giving you a dashboard online to monitor transactions, costs and so on.
Competence: Everyone on the team has a computer science or technology background which has come in very handy for our job. But more than just a programming or designing background, we have moved on to specialize in different fields including
strategy, innovation and so on.
Marketing and Clients: Currently our business is a B2B and B2C business, we want to be able to provide custom delivery experiences for people and businesses.
Unique Selling Point: gOman is a delivery service that enables you to conveniently request delivery services, while helping you to monitor and manage your expenditure and customizing your experience.
Payment: You can pay online but many clients currently prefer to pay Cash on Delivery or cheques at the end of a period.

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As a courier service time is money. How then do you cope with the challenging traffic situation when you have to deliver launch during clients’ office breaks for instance?

Most of our delivery is done using motorbikes which can easily move through traffic. Traffic is not a problem except the delivery package is big and requires the use of a car.

gOman is one of the interesting names we have come across so far. What did you go through to arrive at this name and is it proving to be worth it?

It was pretty simple, the name of our company is Yougora which means “Your market”, a combination of English and Greek. gOman is simply your delivery man from Yougora. One of the team members just blurted it out and it made sense.

How did your company start and what was it like to put together a team to make it possible?

Our team has worked together since 2011, it’s been some of the most trying times in my life. People have come and gone but we still have about 4 of the starters. We started Yougora right after our first major attempt at a tech startup failed; actually the team had a little falling out, so Klenam and I decided to start a new business, we got a hungry team together and here we are…

Let’s stop here. Got a nice idea, there is market for it but that question pops out…how will it be financed? In your case, where from the initial funding and have you had any external financing?

Some people say funding is hard to come by, many people say it’s easy if you know where to look, I don’t really know where I stand. We got our initial funding mainly because a friend introduced us to her uncle. But truth is there are very many ways to pursue funding aside looking for that million dollar seed investment, hehehe, it really may never come. It’s good to start by saving some money yourself, or convincing your family and close friends, if they are not convinced enough to fund you maybe your idea is not good enough. Maybe they like it but don’t have the money; you can apply to accelerator programs, competitions and so on, thankfully in Ghana a lot are coming up now. It’s not easy though, you can go years without finding funding but essentially you have to look, look very hard.

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How have mentors and a business plan contributed to gOman’s growth?

gOman is still a baby, still so much work to do. We learn every day. Mentors are necessary, we don’t have many but we recognize their input. A business plan naturally guides you, it’s so important because it’s hard to get funding or to even execute your business properly without one.

Having been in business for some time means you have learnt a great deal. What have you learnt so far running a business and what do you wish you were told before becoming an entrepreneur?

So far I’ve learnt that it’s ridiculously hard and yet so exciting. You can be suicidal today, with high blood pressure, tomorrow and the next day you’ll be fulfilled and happy like a baby. I wish I knew this before.

What previous job or life experiences are you applying to your business to make it succeed in the long run?

I’m sure some experiences are definitely influencing my current business but let me be honest, everyday is a new thing, I have never been on this road before but I’m excited to see what the next step brings.

This journey of yours is obviously not a rosy one. What is your candid advice to anyone wanting to enter this industry in Africa?

Go hard or go home.

What are some mistakes you have made as a founder of a startup and what lessons are there to share?

Ok, sometimes getting too emotional about the business and so not being able to see mistakes glaring at you. Truth is that, no matter how good your idea looks on paper, it may not take you to the bank. Deal with it.

What are the challenges you have faced and still facing? How are you working at overcoming them?

As a tech startup our major challenges have been around money; funding for scaling services and expendable money on the part of our clients. Our business provides convenience, without enough money people do not care much about convenience.
Also for a delivery service, a proper street and housing identification system will be good for us but we are doing what we can, in fact, we seem to have gotten a good handle on what we have now.

SEE ALSO |  Rahmon Ojukotola: StartCredits Hopes to Save Nigerians Billions of Naira

What is your philosophy for doing business?

Push hard, get it done, reap your benefits.

You currently operate in Ghana. Are we going to see your services in other African markets?

Yes definitely, we’ve started looking into some markets mostly in Africa. Hopefully later this year we would make an appearance.

Give us a mental picture of where you foresee gOman in the coming years?

Thousands of bikes, cargo planes, drones…drone deliveries, yes!

Whet the appetite of those who are still unsure if they should become entrepreneurs by letting them know how rewarding it is to be the CEO of gOman?

Lol, you have no idea how much money I wish my company paid me, but the excitement I get whenever we win over a new client…those little things, they make everything look good. Fingers crossed though maybe billion dollars in the near future.

Your final message to aspiring African entrepreneurs and a word to your clients.

To our lovely clients we have plans to make your experience more awesome, stay with us and we’ll take you places. For aspiring entrepreneurs

go hard or go home…

but also, have a lot of fun.

There you are folks! Another brilliant startup on the rise. Contact gOman deliveries today.

Some take away from Joseph include;

  • Winning over new clients is rewarding but making returns and impacting lives make things even better
  • Yougora started right after their first startup company failed
  • A good network can land you funding
  • Startup life can be suicidal, topping it up with high blood pressure
  • Refrain from getting too emotional

 


If you have want to share your experience as a startup founder on TSH to Africa, send a brief detail of your business to mystartup@thespiritedhub.com

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An entrepreneurship enthusiast, who believes Africans and Africa can have accelerated development if a lot more of us embrace our God-giving talents and effect positive changes in our society.

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FOUNDERS

Rahmon Ojukotola: StartCredits Hopes to Save Nigerians Billions of Naira

High interest rates on loans are a barrier to growth and economic prosperity, which is why StartCredits has developed an innovative way for Nigerians to borrow quick online loans without collateral on its loan market comparison platform.

It is the aim of this fin-tech startup to help Nigerians access finance and save money by comparing loan providers. Rahmon, the Director of StartCredits is strategically growing this company to be the preferred loan market for a number of online borrowers.

Rahmon Ojukotola currently sits on the advisory board to the Florida schools group and previously worked at the Bank of England and UBS. Our startup founder, is also a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Royal Economic Society.

With these credentials, he surely has what it takes to lead the competitive loan market. Let’s find out what Rahmon has brought into the market and his life as an entrepreneur.

 

How is StartCredits disrupting the traditional borrowing in Africa as you suggest?

StartCredits is disrupting traditional borrowing, as our product provides transparency and increases competition in the market to reduce interest rates for qualified borrowers. It also provides a new channel for Nigerians to borrow money.

From your enviable background why did you decide to leave all that to start a startup in Nigeria?

I worked in investment banking and central banking for a number of years and gained a finance MSc from the London School of Economics and chartered qualifications in accounting, investments, securities and finance. I decided to build a startup in Nigeria because there were opportunities and issues that needed tackling, and I thought I had the right skill set to do so. So I gave up a well paying job and decided to come back to try and build something that would hopefully contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.

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How unique are features of StartCredits?

We are the first and only business in Nigeria offering our services to all Nigerians who need loans. We have developed innovative proprietary risk models that accurately measure the borrowers probability of default. This improves our partner lenders’ ability to assess risk, and enables them to disperse more loans to qualified borrowers.

What has been the major achievement StartCredits has chalked since you commenced operation?

We have helped thousands of Nigerians to save millions of naira in interest rate so far and hope to save billions of naira in the coming years.

As much as people really need loans, Rahmon, what is your advice to stay out of debts?

My advice to Nigerians is to ensure you do not take out loans to fund lavish expenditures, loans should be used to finance good business plans. Also remember to budget for interest and other fees in any loans you do take, to stay out of debt. For more technical advice on debt management visit our website on http://startcredits.com

One of the notable features of your company is the stress on Data Science, how relevant is it?

Data science is at the heart of what we do at StartCredits. We utilise big data analytics to build innovative credits risk models, which help facilitate affordable lending to underserved qualified borrowers.

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What great challenge are you facing in running your startup?

It’s pretty much to do with the adoption of the technology. Technology in general is all about finding the best ways to do things. In certain industries it’s easier to have the incumbents accept that, whereas in finance, people have become entrenched in how they do things. It’s highly profitable, so there’s more resistance to changing a winning formula. Finance is highly resistant to change, but people are slowly starting to adapt as you’re seeing with Blockchain technology, which I think has the potential to revolutionize the finance industry. The banks are slowly coming around, but are still highly resistant to change given the nature of the business. In Nigeria, it’s mostly trying to get the people to use the technology. People are highly suspicious of new technologies, so it’s a bit of a challenge

How do you foresee this industry going into the future?

The lending market in Nigeria will be one driven primarily by digital lending in the future, as it is more efficient. I also feel we will continue the cultural tradition of thrift lending (Ajo, Esusu), as it fosters community cohesion.

Tell us which African entrepreneurs inspire you and why.

I think all African entrepreneurs that have built successful business in the face of significant challenges deserve commendation. Saying that I find Ola Orekunrin’s work saving lives with flying doctors to be truly inspiring to all Nigerians and especially young girls. She is a role model who shows them if they study and work hard they can have a significant impact on the lives of many in Nigeria.

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What financial advice can you share with fellow startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa?

My advice to entrepreneurs across Africa is to make sure that everything you’re doing is simultaneously helping you achieve your goals and make profits as well. Don’t leverage too much and try not to grow too fast. Also, make sure that what you’re doing is what people want. The whole point of doing business is addressing the needs of society. So make sure you do your extensive research, go out and meet people to listen to what they’re saying, and make sure you have the right skill set to execute your plan. Once all of that is in place, you’re good to go.

Thank you, Rahmon!

To find out more about loan rates and the company, kindly visit startcredits.com.


If you want to share your experience as a startup founder on TSH to Africa, send a brief detail of your business to mystartup@thespiritedhub.com


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