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October 5, 2016
Sheldon Neil

Q&A

Meet Aisha Addo, CEO of DriveHer, an all-women's taxi service with plans to come to a road near you.

1.  What served as the impetus to start the DriveHer ride sharing program? 

DriveHER was an idea that came to me after reading an article of a similar service being offered in India. I originally thought that was a really cool and amazing idea. I didn’t think a year from then, I would be attempting to launch a similar service in Canada.

At first I thought it was a great initiative, but I also thought it was something that is needed, especially in India, considering the violence that women endure on a daily basis. That led me to think back to a particular moment in my life that I felt uncomfortable and unsafe in a taxi, and how I escaped an uncomfortable situation by placing a phone call to a friend.

Until then, that was an incident that was long buried; but after I started doing my research, I realized that safety for women, when it comes to transportation, is actually a greater issue in Canada than I had initially anticipated. I took on the decision to create an alternative for women and girls travelling within the Greater Toronto Area and that was how DriveHER was born.

2.    You are someone with strong Christian faith roots. How has this informed the values you hold in forming a company like DriveHer? 

One of the things that makes life so beautiful is recognizing that we all have a part to play. Our lives are inter-connected and woven. In order for this ecosystem to work, I must play my part. I think that’s where my faith comes into play. It re-enforces my relationships with people and the community I serve. I believe part of this journey is really having an anchor and a pillar that I can constantly run to, and that’s how I bring my faith values into the services we provide at DriveHER.

3.   You have been hosting DriveHer rallies across the city. What can one expect at these rallies?  

We have been hosting info sessions across the city to give potential drivers some information about the service, and also to answer any questions they may have. Interested drivers are asked to sign up to an info session near them to get an in-depth understanding of the services that DriveHER will be providing with their help. Information about the info sessions can be found online on our landing page and all social media platforms. @driveherapp

4.   You highlight that the value of DriveHer is rooted in the idea of service. How has the life of Jesus demonstrated and shown for you the idea of what service and putting one before the other, looks like? 

Over the years I have learned thattrue leadership is in your ability to serve others, and not to be served. I believe the life of Christ really highlights and enforces that statement. In order for DriveHER to be successful, or any other business for that matter, we must recognize the need of the people and the role we play in addressing that need. Once we understand that; we are able to get to the root of any problem. Studying the life of Jesus taught me that. He didn't just show those He came in contact with the way; He recognized the need of the people and made Himself available to provide a way out. 

5.   You've said that you hope DriveHer will serve as a source to empower female businesswomen. What specific resources does DriveHer offer, that a co-ed and equally safe Taxi service does not? 

We hope to create an eco-system where women support and empower each other. This not only through services, but through collaboration. With DriveHER, we are cultivating a space where women can collaborate on projects and connect with each other. It’s not just about the safe rides, but also the possibilities of women connecting with each other and also supporting each other’s businesses. Our drivers are independent contractors and most are entrepreneurs and business owners themselves. Imagine the possibilities when a woman is introduced to 100 percent of potential clients each and every day. We also hope to support the community by giving part proceeds of our profits to community organizations that support women fleeing domestic situations, and also organizations that empower women and girls to be their best.

6.  There is a lot of administrative checks that need to be addressed including licensing fees, insurance and police checks for your drivers etc. Where are you now in your plans to have drivers on the road? 

We are in the middle of starting a fundraising campaign to raise funds to cover the Toronto Licensing fees. But we are also open to having conversations with individuals interested in investing in the organization as a whole. We have been working behind the scenes to ensure that DriveHER has all the necessary requirements before getting our drivers on the road, which we hope to be before the end of this year. Our campaign goes LIVE on October 16th and we hope we can get the communities support in helping us get our drivers on the road. 

7.   You've said your faith stands as a guiding pillar, you can always run to, in considering the services offered by DriveHer. What has been the greatest lesson your faith has helped you to learn thus far? 

One of the biggest lessons that I keep learning is patience. As a Christian, a lot of things can test and challenge your faith and I think that is one of the things that also keeps me humble. It is to trust God and to trust the process that sometimes things may not necessarily happen when and how I want them to, but it will always unfold the way it’s supposed to. My ongoing lesson is to trust the process, have faith and being assured that all things work together for the good of those that love God, and are called according to His purpose. If God deposits the idea inside of you; He will surely provide for it. Life in itself is a journey, and you must have a strong foundation or else the slightest wind that blows will knock you over. 

Sheldon Neil Q&A conducted by Sheldon Neil, Freelance Correspondent



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