We had an interesting interview with Mr Ousman Rahman, who is the founder and brain behind Doorstep Express – Dex.
Ousman grew up in a small family in Banjul. His father was an office messenger. He said he never imagined himself doing the same job as him when he grew up because he wanted to be a diplomat thus, he studied International relation.
But an idea changed his path in 2016 when he was working at a company called DIP Africa. That day he was sick and needed medication, he asked a favour from his friend to buy him the medication from the pharmacy but his friends told Ousman to pay him to get his medication for him. Ousman then felt that this made sense, a person can do an errand for you and you pay for the service.
He began to think of ways to make this idea into a business. He wasn’t experienced at the time and didn’t know where to start from. He attended a networking event for start-up incubators. During one of the sessions, the lecturer asked everyone to share their ideas. In the beginning, he was reluctant to do so, fearing someone might steal his idea. When he finally did, everyone in the room felt this was a need in the Gambia and this became a new light for him. The lecturer who was an entrepreneur himself encouraged him to go for it which, in the end, he did. Ousman explains: “I later approached him and said I didn’t have money. He told me I don’t need money, all I needed was a bicycle.”
He had to quit his job and university because the start of the business was not easy. He describes it as a business where you are the boss and the staff. It was a rough journey but later he began to extend his team by employing new staff one by one. One of those who joined from the beginning became a partner in the business and is now one of the decision-makers.
There was no money when he started. Later on, he won the prize at a start-up competition which helped him to stabilize the business finances. They were able to buy bicycles and tricycles from the funds they received.
Ousman became emotional when he talked about the time, he nearly gave up on his business due to lack of support from family and friends. Everyone felt he was crazy to leave a well-paid job for a business that wasn’t giving him any income. He later got a job opportunity and nearly gave up his dreams. After sitting and thinking about why he started everything, he decided to go on and this proved to be his career in the end. People began to believe in his dreams when he won numerous prizes.
˝Now I am glad that I didn't give up, maybe I wouldn't have seen this day today˝.
DEx is an experienced delivery company that is the first of its kind in The Gambia. In the beginning, they have gone through lots of failures in serving the customers and this has been an experience that allowed them to improve. Half a decade of experiences has ensured DEx the quality of the service to customers. They are always looking at what customers want and not what they can get from the business.
˝We have structured our business around what the clients want and not what we want and this is how we have been able to keep up the standard˝.
They create convenience for visitors who don’t know the Gambia and wish to order from restaurants or deliver something somewhere. They operate within the greater Banjul area and parts of the West Coast Region.
They also provide service for people living abroad and wish to deliver within The Gambia. They are looking forward to creating an app that will make this service easier for clients to use.
When asked to advise young aspiring entrepreneurs, he smiled and said: ˝Not everyone is made to do their own business. You can get a job and get paid. That is a comfortable way of making money, right? But if you want to go through this rough journey of running a business, you should know that it’s not easy and be ready for it. You need to ask yourself whether you are ready for it. Have a personality, don’t do a me-too business. Identify yourself as a person, create value for what you are offering. It’s important to have a belief and a vision. Have a strong conviction as well. Be FOCUSED and CONSISTENT. ˝