Just in: Bolt launches €25,000 accelerator program for Nigerian e-hailing drivers

Ejike Kanife
The program will be offering a €25,000 seed fund to selected Nigerian drivers who complete the program to support their business plans
20 drivers emerge finalists at Bolt Den accelerator program
Bolt driver

Leading African ride-hailing company, Bolt, on Tuesday, launched an innovative Accelerator program that aims to empower drivers on an entrepreneurial journey. This was revealed in a mail by the company to Technext. The program was launched in partnership with the Nest Innovation Park (‘the Nest’).

The program will be offering a €25,000 seed fund to selected Nigerian drivers who complete the program to support their business plans. The business plans must, however, be relevant to Bolt’s Africa City Vision, based around sustainable transport.

Speaking about the program, Bolt’s Regional Director of Rides for Africa, Caroline Wanjihia said ride-hailing has always been about offering the drivers the flexibility to earn while pursuing other career opportunities and life goals. She therefore believes the program will help accelerate these aspirations for the drivers.

“Ride-hailing has always offered drivers the flexibility to earn whilst pursuing wider career opportunities. we hope this program will take this a step further, supporting concepts that will transform drivers’ lives, make a real difference to communities and could even one day be incorporated into its own operations,” she said.

Bolt now services 1 million drivers and couriers in Africa, hopes to hit profitability in 12 months
Bolt logo

More on the Bolt Accelerator program

Aside from the Den which is the application phase, the company is also launching the Bolt Academy in November where drivers whose applications were successful will be trained. The Academy is a tailored online training program for Nigerian drivers to promote business development skills and support future career development.

Online training at the Academy will be provided by Coursera, a global leader in online scholarship, and supported by in-person sessions with PM4Success International.

Together, these two initiatives, The Den and The Academy, will form the Bolt Accelerator Program, which seeks to redefine the journey of drivers as entrepreneurs and amplify economic growth prospects across Nigeria.

Drivers are the heartbeat of our business, and we believe that offering more developed economic empowerment opportunities makes our platform a more attractive place to come. It’s a win-win and we hope to take the program further afield in Africa.” Caroline concluded.

See also: Bolt at 10: Small beginnings, big wins and global problems

The Accelerator program will be run in close partnership with The Nest. The company will be providing a network of mentors who will support eligible drivers in developing their business plans before a pitch day is held in November.

Speaking about the development, Co-Founder at The Nest, Oluwajoba Oloba, said The Nest is very enthusiastic about the Bolt Accelerator Program as it promises to enhance the quality of life for drivers.

“We hold a high level of enthusiasm for the Bolt accelerator program due to its alignment with Bolt’s commitment to the prosperity and welfare of its stakeholders, a quality that distinguishes Bolt from its counterparts. This initiative not only promises to enhance the quality of life for individuals within the Bolt ecosystem but also to make a valuable contribution to the innovation landscape of our ecosystem and the overall GDP of our country,” Oluwajoba said.

Bolt-driver

On his part, the Managing Director EMEA at Coursera, Hadi Moussa said the company is thrilled to be playing a role in unlocking potential among Bolt drivers.

“We’re thrilled to play a role in unlocking potential and nurturing entrepreneurship among Bolt drivers. “Through this program, we’re not just fostering individual growth with vital business skills, but also positively impacting Nigeria’s economic landscape. It underlines our belief in the transformative power of education on lives and communities,” he said.

Bolt already runs a range of engagement initiatives in Nigeria, tailored towards building and fostering a deeper relationship with the driver ecosystem operating on the platform. The company announced that it now has more than 3.5 million drivers and couriers around the world. Of this number, the company says 1 million are in Africa alone. This represents 28.5% of its global driver and courier population.

Across these verticals, the company also announced that it has crossed the 150 million users milestone. These users are mostly in its markets spread out across 45 countries and 500 cities. This is even as it looks to become fully profitable within the next 12 months, thus becoming the first European mobility platform to become fully profitable.

Application to the Accelerator Program opens today. Follow the link to apply: bit.ly/BoltProgram.


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