‘In the midst of difficult times comes great opportunity’. Well, the drive that ignited him to start his business was simple, his passion to always create convenience for people. ” iTravel Gh was born out of the inconveniences I faced anytime I wanted to travel to any part of the country. It is true that patience and sense of humour are the must have traits when travelling around Ghana. Travelling is an essential part of Ghanaian community and people travel for several reasons; leisure, business, funerals, weddings, education and many more. The desire is therefore strong for a system or platform that will provide or give me people a one stop information centre for all travelling needs; a solution to an inconvenience most people face . Upon thorough research, I noticed that there was no service like that and so with this information in handy he decided to set- up iTravel Gh; a universal mobile and web online bus booking platform that gives people the convenience of getting a bus or ticket to book or buy in advance, express tickets, checking bus schedules, payment online(mobile money, tigo cash, Vodafone cash, debit and visa cards), check bus fares from various bus operators, duration of trip, departure and arrival times with special add on features such as weather forecast, possible rest stops, tourist sites and facts about your destination.” This were the words of Paul Coffie Bebobru jnr. when he had the chance to tell us about his company.
We had a chat with him and he shared the following:
Theoretically I have been in business for five years and practically I have been in business for five years. However it’s not been all that rosy.
- Your line of business involves a lot of risks, are you a risk taker?. What is the biggest risk you have taken to see your business grow?
I am a risk taker by all means but I do it strategically. Funny enough for you to be an entrepreneur in our part of the world is a risk in itself. The biggest risk is not throwing in the towel on my dreams and this Japanese proverb says it all ‘When I fall seven times, I rise eight times’. Will Rogers puts it in this way ’ Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there’. In a nuts shell, I rise and still run modifying my dreams and magnifying my skills. We generate fear while we sit. We overcome then by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy.
Three cardinal points segment my inspiration towards life and business; God, Parents and Ghana. God is my greatest inspiration and in Him I find my true purpose. In the parable of the talent in the Bible, talents were given to three people and the result was that some made their master proud and others didn’t. We all know the story. The bottom line is that my inspiration comes from knowing that every day I live, I have been honoured with a gift that I will be accountable for some day. Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. Mahatma Gandhi puts it solemnly ‘ You must be the change you wish to see in the world’.
- What is your greatest achievement?
Seth Godwin says ‘There is no shortage of remarkable ideas, what is missing is the will to execute them’…….I think my greatest achievements are numerous but the most remarkable is starting off my own business.
By 5yrs, to be Africa’s No.1 choice by travellers in Ghana to purchase tickets in and around the region in a manner that is transparent, secure, convenient, fast and efficient. Hence our vision. Our mission however is that we aim to develop a positive change in the travel and transportation industry through the delivery of demand driven, revolutionary and innovative ideas arising from the core concepts of reliability, speed, efficiency, innovation and convenience. I must be quick to add that going global is definitely on my mind.
What other start-ups do you owe? Well ‘Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions’.-Albert Einstein One thing about me is that I hate to be in one box; business has to be involving, it has to be fun and it has to exercise your creative instincts. Business is more interesting than any game. Apart from iTravel Gh. I have another ongoing business model (shear for life ventures) which is into imports and exports, human capacity building and training, entrepreneurship advisory services, education, health and women empowerment advocacy, consultancy and extension services. Currently shear for life will soon be on a contract with the Ghana Prisons Service to train inmates to be used for production for my next line of business of household products such as antiseptic solutions, bathing and shower gels, yoghurt, hair pomade, shampoo and conditioner and air-fresher and this brand will be called Ems’ and Ghanaians should watch out for this. However I have a few more but all in due time.
- What has been your greatest challenge?
Truth be told I don’t know how to answer this question but I should think that my greatest challenge is that I have set up a life that I can’t escape from . However, being in the start-up phase is most challenging in that you are fighting for acceptance, legitimacy, credibility as well as the negative variables that come with it but the survivors after passing through that phase have their path clearly defined.
- Your views on entrepreneurship in Ghana?
The under development of the Ghanaian economy can conceivably account for the socio-economic and other challenges confronting Ghana’s youthful population. The entrepreneurial capacity id undermined by the general corporate and cultural environment in Ghana. For economic development to take place there is the need to put in place institutions and mechanisms to cater for entrepreneurial potentials of young people within the country. In other words, institutions must be created and an enabling environment constructed to nurture, support and develop the entrepreneurial capacity of the youth. But as it sounds now, these distinct structures and systems is unavailable and that makes entrepreneurship not a consideration because of the many uncertainties that comes with it.
Author: Kwesi Otoo, Writer threesixtyGh.com