As the saying goes, everything great always starts small.
When Joel Onyeka Nkwute thought of starting a logistics outfit that would cater for the needs of the ever-busy Lagos residents, he wasn’t aware of the enormous task ahead. But he was conscious of the need to start little and grow the business to a great height.
From the hustle and bustle of city life in Lagos, where everyone is busy with work and do not have time to pay attention to little things, Nkwute saw an opportunity to make money.
“Everyone is busy in Lagos. No time to run errands, but I saw an opportunity there,” Nkwute tells StartUp Digest.
After the usual hard thinking and consultations, he decided to float what he described as ‘the first Facebook-based delivery and errand service provider.’
Specifically on February 24, 2018, ErrandJoe Delivery Services was born.
It was basically a Facebook-based delivery system because that was where he got his first clients.
ErrandJoe is a logistics, door-to-door pickup and same-day delivery firm, which renders services within Lagos and some neighbouring towns in Ogun State.
“ErrandJoe moves from door to door, house to house, bus stop to bus stop to pick and deliver items for people,” he says.
In just over a year, ErrandJoe has become a household name in Lagos, as far as logistics service is concerned.
In 15 months of its existence, the firm has prided itself as one of the fastest growing establishments in Nigeria, directly employing 39 people who work in different departments.
“Tell me any small-scale company in Nigeria that is just over a year old and could directly employ 39 Nigerians,” he boasts.
Nkwute dreams of growing ErrandJoe to become the number one delivery company in Lagos in the next five years and among the top five in Nigeria.
“In addition to building a service that helps our customers spend smarter and save more, we have maintained a team and culture that are focused on continuous innovation. It is fair to say we are future-minded,” he says, enthusiastically.
Apart from this, he also has plans to move ErrandJoe to the international scene where it can compete favourably with other international courier services such DHL, Red Star, and UPS, among others.
He says this is achievable considering the milestone ErrandJoe has achieved in just 15 months of its establishment.
“One year is a big milestone for any company for us as a start-up working to disrupt a heavily-regulated and historically static industry,” he says.
Some Nigerian youths believe that huge chunk of capital is needed before starting a business. But for Nkwute, he only needed his zeal and enthusiasm to succeed after investing only N3,000 to start the business. He tells this to anyone who cares to listen.
“Before you become jealous of me, think of how I started. I started with just myself, passion and hunger with an account balance of N3,000,” he recalls.
In the 15 months of its existence, he says what has kept ErrandJoe moving is persistence through hard work.
“Through persistence, through trial and errors, and through careful and patient planning, we have been able to survive the odds,” he says.
Funds, bad roads and high way bullies are some of the challenges and hazards encountered on the job as an ‘errand boy’ in Lagos, says Nkwute.
While some youths spend their time on irrelevant things and wait for manna from heavens, Nkwute advises the youth to look around and identify problems people go through, which they could possibly solve. “To fail or to succeed is a choice. We have problems with us, commit yourself to solving just one and you are on your way to wealth and prominence,” he advises.
JOSEPH MAURICE OGU