Anyone who has experienced a Minnesota winter knows, Minnesota nice applies to the people, not the weather. Because of that, you may question why someone leaving Ethiopia, a country with 13 months of sunshine would choose the Twin Cities as their destination. Ebisso Uka, owner of Rift Valley Transportation, says it was an easy choice. He moved to Minneapolis from Ethiopia in 2001. Friends who had come before him spoke of a well-established Oromo community here that worked together to support one another. He arrived and was not disappointed.
When it came to finding work in his new home country, Ebisso had one focus, helping others. It is in his nature. Formerly a teacher in Ethiopia, working to help everyone succeed is the way he does things. After a job as a nursing assistant, Ebisso liked the impact he could make but the job wasn’t his passion. He later became a driver and saw a distinct need for personal transportation for those unable to drive themselves. Ebisso also wanted to be his own boss and help people at the same time, and he thought, “If other people can be the boss and create jobs for people, so can I.” From that observation, Rift Valley Transportation was born in 2005.
At the beginning, Ebisso had one driver, himself, and one vehicle. A self-taught businessman, he turned to his fellow immigrant entrepreneurs for advice. The supportive community that had brought him here was a great resource on his path to success. The main difference now that he was his own boss was that there was no clocking in and clocking out. He is the face of his business and has to represent that all day every day. For some it can be exhausting but for Ebisso, it drove him.
Through a contract with the St. Paul Public schools and other districts, Ebisso was able to bridge his new business with his former career. Making sure that every student has access to schooling is incredibly important for him and was a major factor in the continued growth of Rift Valley Transportation. Rift Valley Transportation has moved locations to find the perfect building for its needs. The former office location was inconvenient for moving cars in and out. The new purchased building has plenty of storage for their fleet of vehicles and they are still expanding their space.
Rift Valley Transportation was born from a desire to not only make a life in a new country, but also to do so while helping others. Through his efforts, Ebisso and his team of 70 drivers, 7 office staff, and over 60 vehicles are able to give many people freedom and access to their community. Even something as common as transportation can empower a person to succeed in their life and Rift Valley Transportation has done just that.
You can learn more about Rift Valley Transportation at their website: rvtusinc.com