Behind the famous African start-up PAPS is an ambitious young entrepreneur, Bamba Lô. Originally from Senegal, Bamba co-founded this innovative young company in Dakar, specialising in logistics transport services for businesses. The story of this young entrepreneur and that of his company embody the potential of the African dream and testify to the ability of young people to succeed on the continent in innovative ways. We take you on a journey to discover the remarkable Bamba Lô and the milestones on his career path.
Bamba Lô, academic excellence personified
Bamba Lô is a Senegalese who, like many young Africans, chose to pursue his education in Europe. His quest for academic excellence led him to the most prestigious educational institutions after obtaining his baccalauréat. He enrolled at IDRAC Business School in France, where he spent two years learning business and management.
Back in his home country, the young man continued his academic career at SUPDECO, where he obtained an MBA, which strengthened his understanding of economic and commercial issues. He then decided to fly to Canada. At the University of Sherbrooke, he undertook certification in economic intelligence, demonstrating his determination to remain at the cutting edge of developments in the field of strategic management of economic information. His thirst for learning led him to obtain another certification in business administration at McGill University, consolidating his skills and versatility.
Bamba Lô's academic career bears witness to his constant desire to improve. His professional career is just as rich, punctuated by a wealth of experience.
From sales manager to seasoned entrepreneur
With his diplomas in hand, Bamba returned to France, ready to put his expertise into practice. He began his career as a sales manager with a travel agency specialising in pilgrimages to Mecca. He distinguished himself by his ability to develop solid relationships with customers. He then went on to become Key Account Manager at start-ups Arkadin (2010-2011) and Momindum (2011-2013), where he excelled at managing key accounts. Building on this experience, Bamba Lô joined lThe Organisation Patronale des Petites Entreprises as Commercial Director in 2014. He brought his leadership and strategic vision to drive the growth and efficiency of the organisation, which he left around a year and a half later.
However, after this series of professional experiences, the young man felt uncertain about his true vocation. Now settled in France, he managed to maintain a comfortable level of income, but felt a deep sense of dissatisfaction. He realises that his aspirations have been reduced to basic financial concerns: paying the rent, buying a car and being able to afford holidays. He wants more.
In 2013, he launched Elite Business Consulting (EBC), which offers a wide range of services to help entrepreneurs identify new business opportunities. From then on, he never stopped bringing his innovative ideas to life. Bamba didn't know it at the time, but when he launched his first start-up, EBC, in France, Tunisia and Senegal, he became a serial entrepreneur. What started out as a hub to help companies outsource their sales will become a call centre specialising in lead qualification and generation.
After this initial entrepreneurial experience, Bamba returned to the workforce and became Chief Commercial Officer at ELISE Technologies between 2015 and 2016. He then moved to Senegal to co-found PAPS in 2016.
PAPS, the benchmark for logistics transport in Africa
Thanks to the success of PAPS that the young entrepreneur, who had previously been in the shadows, was able to reveal himself to Africa and the world. The innovative company was originally an on-demand delivery application capable of connecting delivery drivers and customers. It was called Allo Papy and its aim was to enable express delivery of any parcel from point A to point B. The company had opted to deploy on the B to B and B to C models. It took just two years for the delivery start-up to evolve and be transformed into a logistics transport specialist, dedicated solely to businesses and therefore focused solely on B-to-B.
The company's rise has been meteoric, and the awards are starting to come thick and fast. In 2017, PAPS won the fifth edition of Hub Africa, the meeting place for Africa's entrepreneurs. The previous year, in October 2016, it was awarded the Orange Innovation challenge prize, just one month after the creation of the beta version of the app.
And yet PAPS had competition, companies that were already well established in the land of 'teranga'. In fact, the small company was up against a competitor who already had around a hundred scooters and enough resources to communicate and advertise. How do you stand out in such conditions? The recipe that worked for PAPS was to focus on customer service and draw inspiration from successful models. It's a strategy that's paying off, because today the start-up has won the confidence of major groups such asOrange, Auchan, Eiffage, FedEx, BOA. Alibaba and Google are also partners of the company, which in 2019 managed to raise $500,000 in funding.
Bamba's company is growing by leaps and bounds, and this success is helping to boost the economy in Senegal and elsewhere. Through PAPS, Bamba Lô and his partners have succeeded in building a resilient infrastructure using a unique model. The success of their business is promoting innovation and helping to create jobs. The "Papsers" are very often students looking for additional income or simply people looking for a decent income. In other words, PAPS contributes to sustained, shared and sustainable economic growth, and guarantees productive employment and decent work for many Africans. All this also helps to combat poverty and improve living conditions for families.
A talented entrepreneur who learns every day
It's true that you have to be qualified to run a business. But once you take on that role, every day is an opportunity to learn, to improve as a person and to develop your business. To say the least, Bamba is constantly learning from PAPS, the Senegalese and West African market, youth and opportunities on the continent. This makes him a true source of inspiration and a resilient, methodical entrepreneur whose journey is rich in lessons.
He is a fervent believer in the cult of passion, convinced that a company can only excel if there are passionate people behind it. At a time when the COVID 19 crisis was shaking many businesses, Bamba's business was opening up to new opportunities in terms of storage, organisation and distribution, thereby strengthening relationships with customers. Customers are Bamba's obsession, satisfying them and providing them with ever greater added value for the good of its innovative business.
As for his view of the entrepreneurial environment in Africa, he is rather optimistic. He is convinced that the human resources are available, but that the methodology is sometimes lacking. His vision of entrepreneurship and the realities of Africa have enabled him to incorporate all the best into his business. After six years, PAPS has come a long way, as has its Managing Director Bamba Lô.
Bamba Lô's story offers us a new vision of entrepreneurship. As a young African from the diaspora, it wasn't necessarily easy for him to leave everything behind in France to return to Senegal as an entrepreneur. Nevertheless, his entrepreneurial adventure has enabled him to grow and develop skills that he didn't have before. In truth, entrepreneurship is an obstacle course in which every trial is a lesson. Bamba Lô has learned his lessons. Now is the time to be inspired, to take the plunge and be part of Africa's influence.