We offer a very fast, affordable and comfortable means of transportation for long distance journeys between Gambia and neighbouring countries using 50-seater buses.
PROBLEM & OPPORTUNITY
It is increasingly difficult to travel within the ECOWAS region. A traveler has to spend more money and waste useful time in making long road distance travels, by being transported in up to six commercial buses to make a journey of 3,000-6,000km across three or more countries. Aside from the uncomfortable sitting arrangements with luggage stacked on their bodies, several stops are made to allow the passengers to use public toilet facilities. Presently, these rickety commercial buses are poorly ventilated and make traveling a nightmare. The problem is compounded due to poor infrastructural development and inadequate funding of the existing transporters.
The opportunity available to us as a social enterprise is to gainfully employ informed youths to become drivers and bus conductors in long distance bus coaches with air condition and toilet facilities coupled with video screens displayed to entertain them on these long journeys at affordable costs. The 50-seater luxurious buses proposed are brand new with enough space below for luggage and adequate lightening for passengers reading at night.
Additionally, snacks and light meals are served while the documents are processed together to save time at each border posts. It is estimated that between 15-24 hours will be saved in traveling time between Gambia and Mali for instance. About 40 youths will be directly employed and over 200 people will indirectly benefit from this project. When this problem is solved the ECOWAS community will be a beehive of economic activities promoting interstate trade with movement of goods and services thereby creating more employment and reducing poverty.
Our target markets are the 25 million people spread across Gambia, Senegal and Mali in the first year, and this will spread to over 300 million ECOWAS inhabitants in the next 10-15 years. Our competitors are the major airlines offering exorbitant air fares that are out of the reach of the average person in this community. Secondly, the small commercial bus operators only make short distances thereby making the journeys more expensive and time wasting when one needs to board 3-4 buses from our competitors compared to our single long distance trip.
Cost of fuel per Bus + servicing + tolls + Border crossings = USD 225
Cost of chicken, rice + water USD 1.5 x 55 = USD 82.5
TOTAL Over heads per TRIP = USD 307.5 or USD 5.59 per person
Each Trip is USD 20 per passenger.
Assuming twenty four trips minimum daily for 25 days: (total of 30 buses in operation)
USD 20 x 50 passengers = USD 1,000
Less over heads per trip = USD 307.5
TOTAL USD 692.5
Monthly income USD 692.5 x 24 trips x 25 days= USD 415,500
Less salaries USD 42,375 + Utilities USD 4,500 + Toilet soaps, water dispensers etc. USD 1125 = USD 367,500
Net profit per annum 367,500 x 12 = USD 4,410,000
Assuming 45% interest on loan of USD 5,000,000.00 or 1st year interest = USD 2,250,000
We will break even in 3 years with repayment of advanced loan. (This is a worse case scenario)
BUSINESS GOAL & OUTCOME
We want to be the best in terms of affordability, convenience and speed providing the safest form of transportation for long distance travels. We have already been established in the transportation business locally in Gambia and the reputation is what we want to build on. We welcome investments as equity or loan.
We provide the following services that are not seen in those provided by our competitors:
• Brand new 50-seater luxurious buses adapted for long distances.
• Affordable fare with options of online payment or ticket purchase from any of our stations.
• Bulk processing of documents of all passengers to reduce time and arbitrary fees.
• Comfortable seats with air condition option and watching films while travelling in the buses.
• Reduced time spent on the journeys. Scheduled time of departure and arrival.
• Safe and spacious luggage section of the bus used for tagged baggage for ease of identification.
• Meals served during the journeys.
• Two drivers attached to each bus to change shifts when tired during long journeys.
• Environmentally friendly buses used with low gas emissions with lead free fuel.
• Bus stations equipped with facilities like Internet Wi-Fi, toilets & changing.
• Rooms, canteens, comfortable seats to wait, Bus tracking service, Large T.V
• Screens to watch entertaining films and cell phone charging points.
• ATM points and foreign currency changers available at bus stations.
This special service offered by us, as a social enterprise, will reduce the time spent on these journeys. For instance, average of 8 hrs is spent from Banjul to Dakar by our competitors while we will only spend 4 hours.
Secondly, passengers will be more relaxed and fresh at the point of arrival at their destination.
Thirdly, the passengers do not need to get off the bus to get their passport stamped, this is done collectively by our personnel to save time and avoid arbitrary charges by corrupt officials.
Fourthly, the health of the travellers is not at risk of pollution from hazardous emissions from the rickety vehicles of our competitors.
Lastly, more jobs are created and more buses added every year. This means more opportunities for the ECOWAS countries to exchange goods and services because more people will be induced to travel by road now than before.
Our vision is to empower youths using better options of 50-seater luxurious buses with unique services to motivate people to exchange goods and services in this region thereby promoting regional trade, integration and rapid development of our community.
Fortunately, we have on our management team of young seasoned business managers, technocrats, accountants, experienced human resources managers and resourceful people that will make a success of this project.
Our competitors are the major airlines offering exorbitant air fares that are out of the reach of the average person in this community. Secondly, the small commercial bus operators only make short distances thereby making the journeys more expensive and time wasting when one needs to board 3-4 buses from our competitors compared to our single long distance trip.
Our services are unmatched by our competitors. We will be using brand new 50-seater luxurious buses equipped with latest technology and modern facilities like factory fitted air-condition, hygienic toilet, watching films while traveling, being served meals and giving the passengers peace of mind with comfortable seats to relax and stretch their legs while luggage safely kept in luggage section. Above all tickets can be purchased online or from any bus station at any time at affordable prices with scheduled times to depart and arrive.
We hope to make a great impact on our community with 66 youths to be directly employed and 200 indirectly benefiting in the first year of operation alone. Additionally, we will build the capacities of 100 youths and train them in our operations to be eligible for future employment with us as drivers, mechanics, artist, computer operators and so on. We hope to create employment opportunities for over 600 youths within the next five years when our fleet of buses will have grown to be 70 in number. The biggest risk to us is inadequate funding of this project.
The total amount of funding required to start is USD 973,450.00
The major customers are ECOWAS citizens from 16 countries who are able to move freely. The huge market of over 300 million people from this sub-region makes the project unique. It is estimated that 2% of the 1.8 million people living in The Gambia will travel to either Dakar (Senegal), Kaolack (Senegal) or Kayes (Mali). Additionally, there are over 20,000 Nationals of Nigerians living in Gambia alone. Over 800,000 nationals of Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso are resident in Gambia. Of this figure 50% travel by road daily within the sub-region. From our primary research done, over 400 commercial buses ply Gambia-Senegal route daily.
Therefore, our customers are ECOWAS citizens, European tourists and mostly youths that constitute about 60% of the population of Gambia.
My experience as an operator of commercial ten 14-seater buses for the last five years within Gambia will come to play.
Start–up costs for Creative Minds Transport Service (USD)
1. Rent for Bus stations - 120,000.
2. Cost of 30 Luxurious buses (coaches) - 4,500,000.
3. Furniture &fittings, catering, etc. - 56,000.
4. Salaries and wages (Salary for 3 months) - 41,450.
5. Advertising in all locations - 18,600.
6. Website designing/ online booking e-payment enabled - 21,000.
7. Stationery For all locations - 8,000.
8. Computers & Printers for all locations - 13,800.
9. Security Safe (money & valuables) for all locations - 9,800.
10. Weighing scale for baggage for all locations - 8,400.
11. Business registration, legal & accounting fees - 16,000.
12. Insurance on Buses & Premises for all locations - 150,000.
13. Printing tickets, receipts etc. for all locations - 4,000.
15. Operational vehicles for stations - 24,000.
16. Internet Connection Free Wi-Fi for all location - 5,400.00
TOTAL COST US$ 4,996,450
• Grant Funding
• Angel Investors
• Bank Loans
FOR DEBT INVESTMENT
We require USD 1, 000, 000 at Maximum of 25% interest rate to be paid yearly and the pay back period of the entire loan is 3 years.
Instalment payment of loan: 1st year 25% interest on loan, 2nd year 25% interest on loan. 3rd year 25% interest loan payment plus the principal.
FOR EQUITY INVESTMENT
40% of the total shares will be offered to investors providing the total sum of USD 1 million and profits and dividends will be shared in the ratio 40:60 which can be used to buy more shares. The investor will also enjoy additional salary of USD 3, 000 monthly salary after 3 years of operation as a "silent investor".