When I came across this news, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this. But instantly I remembered how women have been complaining about ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft for a long time now. For women, going into a car with unfamiliar men is not as simple as it should be as there are many risks. Some blogs have actually shared tips to stay secure when using these ride sharing services and that clearly shows something is up.
With all this in mind, An-Nisa Cabs –a Kenyan startup- was founded with intent to make sure women feel safe whenever they get a taxi. An-Nisa only serves women and children.
Tired of having to contend with these issues every time she had to book a cab, the founder of An-Nisa Cabs Mehnaz Sarwar had to do something:
I was always uncomfortable being in a car with someone I didn’t know, especially if it was a male. So I was always in search of a female driver. I realized that a lot of ladies are still in that position.
So, An-Nisa both employs and offers their service to women. At the time of writing An-Nisa employs over 50 female drivers and because An-Nisa takes commissions lower than the competition, the female drivers are also enthusiastic about joining the service. Most competing companies charge 15-25% commission but An-Nisa takes just 10%, a good incentive for female drivers.
It will be interesting to see how this goes, as An-Nisa has been operating for over just one week thus far.
As I was writing this article, I was wondering how viable this idea would be in Zimbabwe. You see, the thing with Kenya is they have a huge population. A colleague recently visited the country and one of the things he learnt was that though the Nairobi population is reported to be around 7 million, in actuality there are around 12 million people as the last count was conducted years ago. Think of that!! 12 MILLION PEOPLE.
That’s almost the entirety of Zim, in one city. And what this means is entrepreneurs can come up with business that capture a small segment of the city and still take off. If your business has a 20th of Nairobi that translates to around 600 000 people. In Harare, if you have a 20th of the people that ends up around 125 000 people (using 2.5 million as the total population). Our city is less populated, and that’s before we factor in who’s earning money and what not.
I know for a fact there would be women who are interested in such a service locally, but I’m sceptical as to whether or not there are enough of them to make it a viable business.