Living in Lagos has always been a difficult thing. The traffic, the energy overload, the sheer stress of just getting by… they all take their toll on residents. This explains why Lagosians are known to never take lightly, their playtime. But even that requires a level of expertise. Sulaimon in this chat with TECHnically explains how this frustration led him to build this location-based discovery App for local businesses. Well, he also told us how it works but we spent a lot of time talking about his love/hate relationship with Lagos.
He is a well-travelled, entrepreneur who has worked across industries with 9 years of experience in the Energy sector, but his love for country has led him to develop this travel-inspired application poised to change the face of hospitality and tourism in Nigeria and Africa.
TECHnically: Hello Sulaimon. Thank you for doing this. You haven’t lived in Lagos for a while, what led you to develop an App to provide solutions to Lagos problems?
Sulaimon: Well, the main goal is to help contribute to the improvement of tourism revenue in Africa as a whole. It just made a lot of sense that we start with Nigeria, especially Lagos, a city we already know well enough. We want to change how local businesses interact with their customers’ needs. There’s a dearth of good customer service from most businesses and that needs to change. Also, all over the world want to explore Lagos (and Africa) more than ever before but there’s always the problem of what to do and where to go once they get here.
TECHnically: What solution have you now come up with?
Sulaimon: Ajo. It’s is an application that helps users discover new businesses based on where they are in Africa. Users can search for places, review the place they have been, upload pictures, and recommend new places to others in-App. This way everywhere worth visiting around you can be easily located and choices can then be made based on reviews but other users. This will also help business improve upon their services.
TECHnically: How have you been able to put up businesses so far? Do you rely on the existing geo-location applications?
Sulaimon: No, Ajo has spent a lot of time collecting real data about local businesses. We go there first and ensure that the addresses are correct and pictures are true to life.
TECHnically: So what are the target businesses?
Sulaimon: All businesses. So far, we have restaurants, hotels, malls, Bukas, tourist attractions, lounges, and even places of worship. We plan to feature all local businesses. Not just for the benefit of locals but also, so that tourists can use the App to plan their trip anywhere around Africa.
TECHnically: What countries have you reached with Ajo so far?
Sulaimon: Right now, we are only in Lagos. We intend to move on to Abeokuta next and then conquer the rest of Nigeria before long. We are working with Nigeria first because this is home.
TECHnically: Great! How does Ajo work?
Sulaimon: User download the app. Business owners too. Both can access the App for free and business owners can also list their businesses on it for free. The landing page of Ajo shows all businesses around the user, depending on their geo-location. Users can also search and personalise display results. The other feature is the recommendations which are Editor’s picks and places that other users highly recommend.
TECHnically: What other features are there?
Sulaimon: Users can save their favourite locations. There is also the profile and settings tab where they can adjust preferences to tailor what comes up in their discovery page. A person visiting another city can also plan and explore ahead by setting his/her location to the desired city.