TORA Africa Might be the Andela for Drivers, but can it Survive Nigeria’s Crazy Labour Market?
Getting reliable drivers is a major challenge in Nigeria which explains the frequent change of drivers especially in companies. Be it private car drivers, truck drivers and even bike riders, people are always complaining about their lack of training, lack of proper etiquettes, and many other issues. But what if a company tips the scale to recruit, train, verify, insure and outsource drivers to areas of need? That is exactly what TORA Africa is doing.
Based in Nigeria, the company recruits, trains and verifies drivers for deployment to individuals and companies who need them. This is quite similar to Andelan model. Thus, TORA is an impact driven tech startup which creates employment opportunities for Africans while providing clients with the quality drivers they need.
The startup also provides female drivers/executive assistants to people who need them.
Founded this year by Roseline Ekhenimoh (CEO), Ized Uanikhehi (Chief Marketing Officer) and Charles Avackaa (COO), the startup recruits drivers/riders through its network of agents.
The startup also says it has a special team that scrutinises details provided by drivers and qualifies them for verification. The details include house address, guarantors, background checks and other necessary information. Drivers are also mandated to undergo biometric verification.
After verification, drivers are trained extensively. These trainings are conducted with partner organisation and they encompass customer care, etiquettes and safe driving.
Two weeks after their wholesome training, the drivers are deployed to individuals and organisations that require their services.
It’s not clear if the outsourced driver works for TORA Africa or on his/her own.
surviving Nigeria’s crazy labour market
Since TORA claims to be the Andela for drivers, it is imperative to note that Andela outsources most of its developers to employers in the West. While the reason for that may not strictly be applicable to Tora, it is still noteworthy that the Nigerian labour market is one crazy place.
After spending so much resources training and verifying drivers, it is expected that hiring these drivers won’t come cheap. Even more so if TORA would receive a commission per driver. With employers looking to get the most with a lot less resources, TORA will likely not become a very popular place for recruiting drivers and its client would likely be limited to the very big firms who already pay so much for drivers.
Thus, the startup needs to make its price competitive enough if it must appeal to a larger section of the market.
Furthermore, driving usually isn’t considered skilled labour in Nigeria which explains why individuals and companies don’t expect to pay a lot for it. Thus, TORA might find itself not just needing to train drivers for employment, but also needing to educate potential employers why driving is a serious skill they should be willing to pay good money for.
As a startup that looks to spread across Nigeria and eventually Africa, the startup might face the challenge of scaling. As it expands and serves more clients, its expenses in carrying out these trainings and churning these quality drivers will increase.
But one major challenge employers always have with recruitment of drivers is carrying out thorough background checks. The inability to do this explains why many drivers turn out to be dubious or lacking discipline and dedication to the job. So this is probably a good selling point for TORA Africa as it solves the problem of verification and driver quality assurance.
That said, TORA claims to already have several clients with various needs as well as a robust pool of drivers which it continues to outsource to needed locations. And while just at its fledgling stage, the startup seems to be gaining traction, the most recent of which is an undisclosed pre-seed funding from Wennovation Hub co-founder, Idris Ayodeji Bello.
Tora seems to be doing well enough for its self which is remarkable. It has a solid model which is innovative and which, if it catches on, could quickly make the company the go-to place for hiring reliable and responsible drivers.
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