Making Africa Work entrepreneur Younes Douari has a passion
Making Africa Work entrepreneur Younes Douari has a passion for public transportation. Wanting to explore Ghana while studying in Accra, he had to find his way through a complex transport system. Younes: “The only way to be assured of a reserved seat is to go to the bus station a couple of days in advance. This is a quite time-consuming and costly operation. First al of all the traveller needs to go to the main bus station i.e. the ‘Circle Station’ in Accra by local transportation like TroTro, Uber or a taxi. At the bus station, he needs to line up and queue for a ticket. After obtaining the desired ticket he needs to travel back home by use of TroTro. On the day of travelling, the traveller is going to the station again by using the TroTro or other services. Finally, he can enter the bus and sit down on the reserved seat.”
Younes fascination for transport lines and background in urban mobility made him question the contemporary state of Ghana’s public transport sector. The young entrepreneur saw lots of opportunities in what he calls ‘the sector that is one of the cornerstones for development’. Inspired by how the Dutch organized their public transport sector, Younes started thinking about doing research, providing solutions and grasping opportunities in Ghana’s public transport sector. In this process, he started his own company: On Point.
With help of the Making Africa Work programme Younes is working hard to develop a solid and bankable business plan. Coach Jan Booden visited Younes in Ghana. The two set up a temporary office at the Centre For Remote Sensing And Geographical Information Services (CERSGIS), did market research and met with local partners. “We went to different bus stations in Accra to experience the current situation and to talk with station officers,” says Younes. “Jan really helped me build my business case. With his experience in doing business he really lifted my operations to the next level. Jan not only helped me with reaching out to stakeholders and refining the business plan, but also coached me on how I should channel my energy better and more efficient.”
Solid travel information
Younes’ company focusses on two projects: Go TroTro and MyTicketsGH Go Coach. Younes: “The first will give the citizens of Accra the possibility to move themselves from A to B with solid travel information on which bus line or lines they have to take and where to find the bus stops. This kind of service is already to be found in various parts of the world, but yet to be introduced in Ghana and will have a big impact on the daily lives of the citizens of Accra. MyTicketsGH is an interactive online platform where high quality inter-city bus operators are linked with commuters and travellers. As we speak it can be downloaded in the Google Play Store! We are currently running a pilot with one bus operator. The plan is to also include Airliners. Still urban transport, but even more diverse.”
On Point’s mission is to contribute to economic development through smart solutions in Africa’s urban mobility sector. Younes: “There is a strong belief that we will make life easier for a very large group of people with the help of our products and services. With the economic development, we hope to achieve and make impact on as many daily lives as we can. Our services will target the new generation in Africa’s dynamic market: people who are living in the urban spheres who are used to using the Internet for a great number of purposes and services. Looking at the Ghanaian demographics, 57% of Ghana’s population is under 25 years old. The new generation is surrounded by affordable access to Internet and affordable smartphones. With technological advancements as services as Mobile Money and Axel Pay a whole lot of service-based opportunities come to surface. A trend that On Point will ‘ride on’.”