Born in the UAE, Careem exemplifies the country’s entrepreneurial spirit
It is no secret that the UAE and GCC have in recent years seen a staggering rise in the number of startups and entrepreneurs within the region. Al Masah Capital stated that in 2016 there was a “total investment of $815 million in Mena startups and the number of new businesses was set to grow by 560 percent year-on-year.”
With the UAE having gone through rapid change to establish itself as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, it nurtures the entrepreneurial nature, taking risks and looking to create the next biggest, best and awe-inspiring features that the world has ever seen.
Being born in the UAE, Careem has harnessed and developed many entrepreneurial values of its own from the country, much of which starts with their Careem Captains, the drivers of the ride-hailing fleet ensuring we are reaching our destinations safely and on time.
Offering the slogan “be your own boss”, the belief in allowing others to create their own path is what has made Careem the success it is today.
Moving forward together and understanding that nothing ever happens by standing still, it asks its Captains to take on an entrepreneurial attitude and to “start something” for themselves - an invitation to start believing in the region, their dreams and the beginning of a change.
So what is it really like to be a Careem Captain here in the UAE?
Here, we asked entrepreneur Asadullah Muhammed, a Careem Captain since 2015 to offer insights into his entrepreneurial story:
Why did you decide to become a Careem Captain?
When I first arrived in the UAE, I worked as a national taxi driver and in 2015, made the decision to be my own boss and join Careem as a Captain. Having a mother back home in Pakistan with no other siblings, it was on my shoulders to take care of her and with the need to travel back and forth, this was not easy to do with my old job.
What have you found have been the benefits of joining Careem?
With Careem, I have the opportunity to travel freely and balance my family and business needs as I see fit. It also allows me to choose my preferred working hours as per my convenience, which creates freedom in my day to day life.
Where do you find is the best location/time to get the most rides?
For me, I prefer to work in the morning as then I can work with corporate clients. I tend to take rides around Media City and the Marina for the most part as there are a lot of customers who live and work around these areas.
Do you feel like your own boss?
Absolutely! It is great to be able to feel that I am in control of my life and the decisions I make. It is so important for me to have a work-life balance and spend time with my family without having to worry about finances.
How supportive is Careem to your success?
Careem is a great support to all starting Captains as they offer training and resources to help get our business off the ground as well as offer a source of income. Through partnerships, such as those with General Motors, it allows for Captains to have competitive loans with low-interest rates for the Captains to be able to buy the cars first hand as well as offer reduced rates for services and maintenance.
Careem also works to create partnerships with other well-known entities popular with the Captains, such as food outlets, grocery stores and petrol stations, in order to offer discounted or value-added products and services that assist in the well being and success of the Captain.
For me, the team also provided a platform to grow my business, as at first, I started with having one car and have developed into owning and operating a fleet of three cars. It is because of Careem and their support that I have been able to establish myself as my own boss as well as earn and save money through my work.
What are the steps/training to becoming a Careem Captain?
Careem offer in house training for all new Captains as well as a variety of resources for them to succeed. From day one, an induction is provided to go through the tools required to be a Careem Captain and how to use the app as well as providing key information on how to earn maximum amounts, quality training (the do's and don'ts), what to do in an emergency, safety and security training, airport protocol, and cancellation policy.
At the end of the induction, a goodie bag of sorts is given to each of us, including small pieces for the car such as tissues and the like, which can be replenished by visiting the Careem offices.
Tell us a memorable story you have had as a Careem Captain?
I remember receiving a booking from a resident of Dubai, who was extremely late to catch a flight. As an experienced driver and having strong knowledge of the roads, I was able to take shortcuts to get the passenger to the airport on time to catch his flight, of course, abiding by the speed limit. Being extremely happy not to have missed his flight, he offered me a tip of AED 1,000.
What is your favourite part about being a Careem Captain?
I would have to say my favourite part about being a Careem Captain is the customers. Generally, they are very nice, and I often have great conversations with them, meeting so many different nationalities and people from all walks of life.