Damilola Teidi, 26, is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of GoMyWay Africa, an online ridesharing service which connects travellers with private car owners who have spare seats. She speaks about the things that drive her passion
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus and a master’s degree in strategy and innovation management from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.
What is your work history?
After I bagged my first degree, I worked with Socket Works as a software developer during my National Youth Service Corps year. While studying for my postgraduate degree, I worked as a market research analyst and later, I worked with the University of Southampton as a programme management office intern. Upon my return to Nigeria, I joined Co-creation Hub as their business analyst. There, I worked with technology start-ups in their pre-incubation and incubation programmes.
What motivated you to establish GoMyWay Africa and what are your duties there?
My partners and I identified the need for an alternate transport system in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, which when properly managed, would be more efficient, affordable, safe and convenient. We also believed that a solution like ours could help reduce traffic congestion in major cities by pairing car owners going in the same direction, so that they are able to share rides. We understand that we have a role to play in finding solutions to the real problems that exist in our environment.
What were some of the challenges that you faced in setting up GoMyWay Africa and how did you surmount them?
After we launched the company, we were faced with the challenge of selling a concept that was new to many Nigerians. We quickly realised that we had to educate people about the service as well as market it. This was a challenge considering the fact that we had to reach out to car owners as well as passengers. We also had to minimise spending. Hence, we had to experiment with different advertising channels, content, etc. and came up with cost-effective ways of getting the word out.
How did you meet your co-founders?
I met my partners through Co-creation Hub where I worked as a business analyst.
What year was the company established?
Gomyway started operations in June 2015.
Did your previous employment contribute to where you are today?
Definitely, it did. I have always been deliberate about where I work and the roles I apply for. So, all my previous jobs have helped to shape my career path.
Is Gomyway where you want it to be?
I would like to say that we are not there yet, but we are currently on the path we had set out for ourselves initially- to grow and achieve the purpose for which we established this company.
Do you think you would have made a first-class degree if you had studied in Nigeria?
Yes, I would have. I am a very driven person and if I set my mind to achieve something, I will push myself to achieve it. However, I have to add that it would probably have been unnecessarily harder if I were in Nigeria. The key word here is “unnecessarily“. I believe there is a lot of work to be done to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.
What are some of your achievements since you set up Gomyway?
We currently have over 10,000 members registered on the platform and more than 60,000 rides offered and rides shared across 16 states in Nigeria. In January 2016, we were featured in the Global Opportunity Report 2016 as a transport pioneer and an opportunity leader. The report was published by DNV-GL, United Nations Global Impact and Monday Morning Global Institute. In late 2016, we were also selected by NITDA to represent Nigeria at the GITEX Technology week and we were also recognised by the Nigeria Computer Society, as one of the most promising start-ups of 2016 and we have been featured on both local and international media.
How did you raise funds to start GoMyWay ?
Funds came only from members of the founding team. Who are your role models?
I have a variety of role models for different reasons; from my parents to friends, businessmen and women.
Where do you see GoMyWay in the next five years?
In the space of five years, GoMyWay will be a mainstream transport option that is efficient and operational in at least three different countries in Africa.
How would you encourage youths who want to excel in their careers?
First of all, put God first in everything that you do. Secondly, you have to be deliberate when choosing the company you want to work for as well as the job role, so that you are constantly on the right path towards your career goal. Wherever you find yourself, be dedicated and put in the best into your work. If you want to be an entrepreneur, make sure it is for the right reasons and that you are meeting a need or solving a problem. I hear a number of people say they want to run their own company because they cannot imagine themselves doing a 9-5 job or that they do not want to work for anyone. When you run your own company, you will on many occasions work round the clock and your customers will be your bosses.
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