Support the launch of Bus Tickets Zambia, Named Africa’s Best New Venture 2015 at Harvard University
On May 18th, 2015 Dot Com Zambia will launch its Bus Tickets Zambia project starting in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia.
Bus Tickets Zambia is a convenient and reliable way for the general public in Zambia to book their inter-city bus tickets online, using a variety of method from their feature phones to purchasing the ticket from an authorized agent like Post Dot Net, and then paying for the tickets using their bank cards, mobile phones or make cash payments to an authorized agent. Bus Tickets Zambia aims to decentralize intercity public bus travel for all Zambians regardless of social standing in society.
For nearly 2 years, Dot Com Zambia has been developing this system to make intercity bus travel more convenient, more efficient and more accessible to the general public through technology. The scale of this project is unprecedented in Zambia and across Africa and will change the way bus travel is conducted, not only in Zambia, but across Africa.
Our project has received tremendous support from the general public as well as acclaim from the international community including a recent recognition from Harvard University, which included a $15,000 grant, as the best new business venture in Africa for 2015 as well a $7500 Grant at the 2014 Global Innovation for Science and Technology Competition sponsored by the U.S state Department.
However like many entrepreneurs, bringing our business to market has been challenging, but through sheer will and support from various private parties, we have been able to develop a lot of the project on our own, creating jobs along the way and a valuable system that solves a common Africa problem built by Zambians.
Harvard Business School Africa New Venture Winner for 2015
2nd Place Finisher: Global Innovation for Science and Technology (GIST), sponsored by the United States State Department
BUS TICKETS ZAMBIA IN THE MEDIA (PR)
Since Bus Tickets Zambia was officially announced in November, 2014, the project has received media coverage locally and internationally. The project has been covered on ZNBC, ZNBC1, Muvi TV, Radio Phoenix and has been mentioned in several print and online media locally and internationally
We still need resources to bring this project to completion and we are seeking support from you to in the final stages to bring this project to market. The amount we are targeting is at least $7000 to go towards building a feature phone system and SMS that would allow travelers with the most basic of phones and living in small towns and rural Zambia to access buses. Using this system a customer can just dial a short code like 360# and reserve their bus ticket or they can send an SMS to a short code like 3006 and reserve their bus ticket that way.
The funds will go towards the set up fee for this system with the relevant telecommunications authorities in Zambia. At $7000 in year 1 and $4000 every year there after, these fees are tough for aspiring entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.
“Mr John Banda, is a trader, who lives 60 minutes outside of Kasama. Mr Banda travels to Lusaka for business twice a month to buy supplies for his store and small farm. This is a trip he dreads. Bus travel is the only way he can travel. He will wake up in the morning and make the 45 minute journey to the main road. Once at the main road he waits for hours and several buses from Kasama going to Lusaka will pass Mr Banda and typically not one will stop. So he has to make the decision to hitch hike or jump on a smaller local bus back to Kasama or Mpika and start his long journey from there and when things area really bad his journey to Lusaka starts the next day, meaning he would have spent 3 days travelling. His return journey is marginally smoother, but there are times he has missed the 14:30 time bus back to Kasama on the popular buses, which means waiting for hours for any bus or sometimes sleeping at Intercity Bus Station and leaving the next day. But because he boards the bus in Lusaka, the bus driver will at least stop at the junction to his small town, which is at least a relief.
“Monika Kabwafwile lives near Kafue, a place she says is the worst when it comes to bus travel. If she is travelling to the Coperbelt, she has to find her way to Lusaka intercity first and then work out how to travel from there. If she is going to the South, then she was to wait by the roadside and see what bus she can chance on its way to Livingstone. Once or twice she has tried to make her way to the station in kafue to reserrve a seat. While this has worked from time to time, it is still a game of chance as the bus has to leave Lusaka with an empty seat, but this requires the two station to manually cordinate.”
Cant that bus operator pick up this traveller in towns where they don’t have stations? Why can’t the traveller reserve and pay for that ticket in advance thus giving them peace of mind and securing their journey?
OUR INSPIRATION COMES FROM PEOPLE LIKE JOHN AND MONICA AND THE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE WRITTEN TO US ASKING FOR THIS CHANGE !!!
Appeal Message From The Founder
I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Richard Branson in December, 2014 at the Zambia Investment Conference .One comment that he made in particular resonated with me, “the best businesses are born out of frustration”. I recall in 2013 I had to travel from Lusaka to Nakonde by bus, and I went through the most frustrating of experiences to purchase a ticket. I knew then, they had to be a better way, and I could not be alone in this view. And rightly enough 100% of the market that we interviewed felt the same way as I did. And at that point Bus Tickets Zambia was born and little did I know, at the time, that the project that started with an objective of trying to buy a simple bus ticket would morph into this large scale venture.
The ineffeciencies of bus travel is clear to see, with people outside of urban areas in particular hardest hit by buses that want full loads from the point of origin. And as an economy how much productivity and money do we lose because of the ineffeciencies in the system? Time is the most valuable commodity that people have. Bus Tickets Zambia has a social responsibility to change this and it will. Once fully implemented Bus Tickets will have tremendous social and economic impact on the transportation sector in Zambia and more importantly create jobs
But like many Zambian entrepreneurs the road has been tough, I started Dot Com Zambia in 2009 alongside myself and one other employee operating out of my kitchen. We had no access to capital, but we managed to get our first customer to pay us in advance and from there we grew primarily by word of mouth. And with the income we generated we reinvested it back into the business.
Today, we now have 18 employees in Zambia alongside 3 international offices and with Bus tickets Zambia, we have already created 8 jobs and are set to create another 10 jobs immediately after the business is launched, mainly in IT and customer service. As an entrepreneur, there is no greater feeling than telling someone that they are hired and they can come to work for this amazing small company with huge ambition.
We have a ground breaking project that has the potential to succeed in Zambia and grow beyond our borders, but we need help to make this happened and I need your support to make this a reality.
You Can Help
You can help make this happened, support this project and ask others to support it as well. through social media
As an organization, we still have a lot of work to do, but the work done to date has been superb in getting us closer to our objectives. I am confident that we will execute. And your support will allow us to execute our social contract and responsibility to Zambia which include:
1) A commitment to create employment, And the more we can grow and possibly expand internationally the more jobs we will create.
2) Continue to make our country proud and show that Zambia has entrepreneurs that have the potential to achieve great things.