A Boost to Purchasing Power
Imagine for a moment you are in the countryside, far from a store, and you have an emergency. Imagine you need help as quickly as you can get it. Or, imagine you are a student in the city and your teacher sends you last minute information about your final exam location and you need to let your classmates know of this change. In both situations, you are surprised to find that you’ve got great reception, but…you are out of credit on your phone. You cannot make a call or send a message to anyone.
Enter LIK, a Winner in the 2016 African Entrepreneurship Award. Omar Kadiri and his co-founders designed LIK to solve these persistent problems of phone credit. In day to day events to the gravest emergencies, LIK provides a way for customers to use their phones, without needing to constantly buy costly pre-paid credit. In many parts of the developing world, phone users buy pre-paid credit for their calling, text messaging, and data. When this credit runs out, the phone is rendered useless.
LIK’s solution is simple. Customers download the app, and in exchange for free phone credit, they watch and interact with advertisements, targeted to their interests. For users, Omar says that “LIK is a small boost for their purchasing power, giving them free phone credit in exchange of watching ads and receiving something interesting for them. We are helping them in their daily life. They are used to having advertisements all around them, but thanks to LIK they win something meaningful.” For phone users with very limited purchasing power, free phone credit is more money in their pockets, saving them the cost of buying credit.
“New Tools to Conquer New Markets”
In the 2016 African Entrepreneurship Award, round mentors and Presidential Jurists found Omar’s business to be relevant, meaningful, and as one mentor said, “very well thought through.” By the end of Presidential Jury deliberations in December, LIK was awarded with $50,000 of targeted seed funding from the Award’s $1 million prize. Omar says that winning the Award has developed much more “credibility and trust” with big companies with whom he hopes to do business. Along the journey, Omar learned a lot from his mentors and gained “new tools to conquer new markets.”
First and foremost, Omar remembers the confidence that his first online mentor gave him in believing in his idea and telling him so. He also remembers the rigorous, but very useful application process, a process that he says, “provided very rich learnings for us,” as LIK developed their startup. He remembers his global mentor who recommended he provide more details on the cost of customer acquisition, an important question, especially as he prepared for the Presidential Jury and their questions on financial projections.
Pitching like a Conqueror
Omar did not have to travel far for life-changing advice. In December of 2016, the native of Casablanca received world-class mentoring on pitching his business idea just a few kilometers away at the Award’s customized Boot Camp sessions. He says that his work with his coach “was some of the best mentoring I’ve had during my adventures with LIK. He really encouraged me and motivated me to show more passion, more ambition, and more confidence about the project. I’m really grateful for my coach and I do believe that without him, I wouldn’t have won.” He says his coach taught him “how to be like a conqueror” and the difference from his first pitch to his winning pitch was a “deep change!” He says that his mentor was just what he needed as he was not lacking in ideas, merely in confidence.