Stephanie Benoit August 10, 2016

African Drive is an initiative that was founded three years ago by a group of Belgian entrepreneurs led by our CEO, Fried Vancraen. With the aim of creating a safe and dependable method of transportation for the inhabitants of Benin, African Drive’s affiliate, Baobab Express, started providing locals with a secure, low-cost way of getting from city to city.

Baobab Express's fleet of buses
Baobab Express's fleet of buses

Baobab Express expands its capacity

A few months ago, Baobab Express announced their intention of expanding their fleet of buses. The past three years have been spent by testing out different concepts to see which worked the best – it was always the intention of Baobab Express to provide even the most rural areas with transport, but a profitable business model needed to be established first. After successful results, they were ready to double their capacity!

CEO Chris Van Assche stated, “After steadily integrating the system in the region of Borgou and northern Benin, our transportation company has also managed to create value for the local population. It has created jobs, stimulated the local economy and allowed the local population to go about their business in timely, safe, reliable circumstances. Baobab Express also donates 5% of their income to local charitable initiatives or societies: we are exemplary in the promotion of a social business model, allowing local entrepreneurs to learn and to follow this vision.”


Raising the funds with Bolero Crowdfunding

But how do you gather the necessary investments for all those new buses? Belgian bank KBC provided a platform where potential investors could participate – Bolero Crowdfunding, designed to encourage Belgian businesses and startups. Potential investors for Baobab Express could purchase a bond with a term of five years and a return of investment at 5% per year. Just a few months later, the crowdfunding campaign has already exceeded its original goal of 100,000€. This is great news for Baobab Express, who can now begin to buy the new buses they desperately need, and expand to meet the growing demand for punctual and safe transportation.

Materialise supports a number of social engagements. If you’re interested in finding out more about them, take a look at our website!