How AutoGirl breaks gender stereotypes and thrives in Nigeria’s difficult transport industry

Toluwani Omotesho


The transport and logistics sector is known to be male-dominated, not just in Nigeria but around the world. Arinze Chinazom, however, is challenging this stereotype with her vehicle rental company, AutoGirl.

AutoGirl, founded in 2017, is a peer-to-peer vehicle rental and car-sharing business that gives Nigerians affordable luxury transportation.

Arinze tells us that AutoGirl didn’t start as a car rental company but as a dealership. She explains, “I started selling vehicles for different car dealers and eventually transitioned into renting cars”. This shift was inspired by her time arranging transportation for her fellow students at Babcock University. Many students needed to travel from Ogun state to Lagos on weekends and holidays, and she arranged this service for them. “That was my first experience making money in the transport industry”, she adds.

After graduation, she moved to Abuja state and continued the business. Seven years later, AutoGirl has expanded its services to Lagos, Asaba, Port Harcourt and Enugu. In addition to car rentals, she now rents boats and jets.

AutoGirl web page

But AutoGirl’s journey hasn’t always been a smooth trip

At first, many people didn’t take AutoGirl seriously,  “I think this would have been different if it was a “macho” mechanic man behind the brand,” Arinze says. But, the sentiment quickly changed once she demonstrated she could structure the business for growth. In Arinze’s words, “We started showing workings.”

In recent times, though, while AutoGirl has managed to build credibility as a brand, it continues to face a significant challenge: surviving Nigeria’s unstable economy.

In a country always at risk of a random fuel scarcity crisis, AutoGirl has found ways to make sure business continues. She says, “As an automobile business, our functionality depends on fuel. So we have a full reserve that we use on rainy days.” Arinze believes that there’s always a way to solve issues, and a true entrepreneur is proactive enough to innovate around problems without complaining too much.

AutoGirl does more than vehicle rentals.

Beyond rentals, AutoGirl is trying to make accessible income opportunities in the automotive space. She says, “I believe my purpose in life is to make people rich, and God has put AutoGirl in my hands to achieve this.”

AutoGirl has created a system where anyone with a good car can earn a good income and change their lives. “We’re trying to make people earn from our platform the same way they did with Uber and AirBnB”, she adds.

Also read: Foods by Far: How a picky eater built a thriving food business

Plans for the future

In the next five years, AutoGirl plans to be in at least 16 African countries, with over 150,000 car owners and 500,000 customers.

Arinze shares that becoming an UpGreyed Her runner-up came at the perfect time. She says excitedly,  “I was so happy when I found out I won. We’ve been trying to acquire an asset for our platform, and the prize money got us 95% closer to what we needed. It felt really amazing. Many thanks to Grey for helping African women-owned businesses to thrive.”

Arinze Chinazom AutoGrl UpGreyed Her runnerup

Arinze advises other female entrepreneurs to be consistent and never slow down. ”You have to keep going. Keep putting in your best and pushing to get results, not just from your staff but also from yourself.” she adds.

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