THE PITCH: Aisha Addo hit the road with Toronto’s first ladies-only ride-sharing platform with barely a business plan—and no name in place. (Apparently 52 percent of Canadian entrepreneurs don’t create a formal plan prior to launching their biz.) The 25-year-old entrepreneur from Mississauga, Ont., originally shared her women-driving-women idea on her personal Facebook page, and her post got people talking. She decided to publicize the concept by writing a formal press release and sharing it with various media outlets. And so, DriveHer was born.
THE PROCESS: After Addo’s media blitz, more women responded on social media, opening up about uncomfortable experiences involving taxi or Uber drivers, and encouraging Addo to avoid parking the idea. “Sharing my concept online created a community that felt connected to the issue we were trying to solve,” she says. “It also helped inform certain decisions that shaped DriveHER.” By crowdsourcing opinions, Addo was able to address additional concerns spotted by the general public, such as how to make the service available to people who do not identify as a particular gender. That part is still a work in progress: Addo says she’s reached out to LGBTQ groups to figure out ways to make DriveHER a safe space for everyone.
THE FINAL PRODUCT: The buzz Addo created drove a sharp increase in sign ups for passengers and drivers, surpassing her original goal by 50 percent. DriveHER is expected to launch at the end of this year with more than 200 women registered to use the service and 75 drivers behind the wheel.
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