BLTW — Oke Yusuf Olawale: The Five-Star Entrepreneur Driving Change In The Transport Industry
Years ago, a young boy was fascinated with moving objects, especially cars. Little did he know that he would grow up to own one of Nigeria’s fastest rising transport companies. He is DABA's Business Leader of the Week.
The passion in Yusuf’s words is palpable as he talks about his company, 5 Star Transport Services. He narrates how he had always been fascinated by cars and other moving objects. It was a fascination that never left. So, he pursued it.
As a senior student in a secondary school in Lagos, Nigeria, he joined the LASTMA (Lagos State Traffic Management Authority) students club. He would go on to become a LASTMA student ambassador for Lagos Education District 1. Ever since then, he has sought to position himself for the right opportunities in the automobile space. And that search for relevance and opportunities brought him into the world of transportation.
“Transportation caught my attention the most because transport is so essential to make a meaningful life,” he says.
He started his transport company in 2016 as a 4th-year student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The company was called ICONOKE TRANSPORT. But Yusuf had zeal devoid of experience, so the business crashed.
However, the crash brewed him into a perfect blend of passion, knowledge, and experience. With these traits, he, like God, breathed life back into his business in September 2018 during his youth service in Abuja. It was a rebirth, a reinvention—a five-star transport service.
5 Star Transport Services is a company with a mission to deliver a positive, reliable experience to its clients while offering exceptional value in the marketplace and setting the standard for professionalism in the transport solutions it provides. The company focuses on four core areas: people, perspectives, products, and processes.
By adding value to its clients, the company has grown from 3 vehicles with a valuation of 5 million naira in 2019, to 48 vehicles with a valuation of 60 million naira in 2021.
But every business comes with its attendant challenges—and the major challenges for the transport company are the mechanical breakdown of its vehicles and road accidents. However, the impact of these is mitigated by an insurance policy.
When asked about the future of 5 Star Transport Services, Yusuf first says: “The future is great, I can smell it.” Then, without thought, he goes on to present a clear roadmap of the company.
“The future is great, I can smell it.”
The company plans to create a structure where different categories of investors/clients can access its services. It also purposes to create a 3-tier market segment to accommodate more investors and boost sales. Finally, it plans to launch some spectacular products into the market like drone services, city tours, car wash garage, mobile workshop, and so on.
In the long term, Yusuf projects that the company should have increased its fleet to 250 vehicles within the next five years.
He also says the company is open to valuable partnerships to companies interested in what 5 Star Transport Services is doing.