Eight years ago, was selected as a possible candidate for a scholarship from Aiducation. Inspired by a in 2014 and equipped with the necessary skills at one of Aiducation’s Startup academies, he developed a brilliant idea to launch his own start-up: the Crosstown Courier. Jimmy is full of entrepreneurial spirit and happy to share his story with us.
Jimmy, what is the idea behind Crosstown Courier LTD?
Crosstown courier LTD was borne to bridge the gap of doing city deliveries. There being no elaborate system to provide this service the company came in handy to bridge the gap in doing deliveries of parcels, mails, lunch, shopping, small boxes, paying water and electricity bills and all petty errands from one office to another within the city. All this we do by bicycle means as our main aim is not only to make profits but also lead the way for green entrepreneurship.
Jimmy (left) and one of his riders.
How did you come up with your small business idea?
I was volunteering in an organisation that was organising a major event in the city. As part of the organising team we printed many letters that were to be delivered to the relevant stakeholders. The internal messenger department was to handle all deliveries but they instead used third party to do the deliveries. This resulted to a majority of the letters not being delivered. The event was thus not succesful and the organisation incured huge losses since the turn out was low. I went back and thought over the whole situation; what if I had a bicycle to guaranteer door to door delivery of all letters? This would be a win-win situation for me and the organisation.
Was this a project you have always dreamt of launching?
After the incident at the organisationI would‘nt stop researching about bicycle courier businesses around the world and my passion grew stronger with each passing day. I came to learn that the bicycle courier is doing well in Europe countries like Switzerland with companies like Flash and Velo Couriers. I always dreamt to make it a reality one day and I started working towards it with the little I had.
His startup was featured in the national newspaper.
What role did Aiducation play in the success of your business?
Aiducation came through with the Start-up academies being offered with support from SwissRe insurance company. These mentorship sessions taught and equiped me with vast knowledge on starting, maintaining and running the business. It is through Aiducation international that I also received funding for my start-up company.
Were there any challenges you were facing when you started your project?
I had no capital so I instead borrowed a bicycle of one of my friends who was working night shift as I would use the bicycle during the day to handle the few delivery orders I had then.
I faced rejection from first potential clients I approached as they thought I dind‘t have what it takes to handle their deliveries. Some really said some discouraging and disturbing statements that I usually still remember but I took their critics positively to build my business.
Are you now a full-time business man at Crosstown Courier? What does a normal working day for you look like?
Yes, now am happy to say that am fully working at Crosstown Courier LTD as I take part time classes at the university during the evenings.
I usually start my day the night before I go to bed. This is when I plan for the coming next day activities. Then in the morning together with the team we evaluate any pending ongoing delivery orders or work on placed orders for that day. This is when we plan on the riders dispatch categories.
I also take time to evaluate customer satisfaction by getting feedback i.e. confirm that our clients in the previous day received their deliveries and if they are satisfied and willing to work with us next time.
I try to book appointments with various companies, organisations, and clubs to present our concept as part of our marketing strategy. Sometimes if we have many orders I get on the bicycle and do the deliveries too.
His startup is a green and sustainable business.
What is the most memorable feedback you have ever received on your project?
There is a day I pitched the idea in a Rotary meeting and immediately after my presentation one of the Rotarians asked to give us business with effect from the next day. True to their word, the next day they called and placed one of the biggest bulk delivery orders we handled in our one year of operation.
What are the future plans for Crosstown Courier?
We are now extending our market to having a segment of food deliveries as proved by the increasing demand towards this subject. Lunch delivery orders have increased significantly over the past two months and we intend to capitalise on this.
Interview: Kerstin Hockmann