JewelRide Celebrates Fourth Anniversary

Edwardsville company offers non-emergency medical transportation

EDWARDSVILLE — One of the key goals of JewelRide is to improve access to healthcare in the community, and four years after it started, the company continues to thrive.

JewelRide, located at 2110 Troy Road, offers non-emergency medical transportation. The company celebrated its fourth anniversary Monday night at The Outlet Event Center in Edwardsville with about 100 guests.

“We started on Sept. 18, 2019, and like any other business, we were excited and looking forward to growth,” JewelRide co-founder and CEO Tapiwa Mupereki said.

“A few months after we started, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and we moved from trying to grow to just trying to survive. Eventually the situation got better and the coming in of COVID-19 vaccines heralded practical hope and we started getting some traction and we’ve been growing very well from there.”

JewelRide now has more than 20 medically compliant vehicles and more than 70% of them can accommodate wheelchairs. The company has the capacity to accommodate as many as 200 rides per day.

“We cover all of the Metro East including Madison County, St. Clair County, Jersey County and Monroe County, as well as Bond County and the Centralia area,” Mupereki said. “We also take people to St. Louis every day.”

Mupereki further expressed his joy on the evening, remarking emotionally, “I never thought a day like this would come. I grew up in a rural village in Zimbabwe and was raised by my mother who unfortunately never went to school completely.

“It was difficult to imagine a better future and let alone to be a catalyst for employment creation in America.”

Key milestone

The guest speaker at Monday’s event was Dr. Tim Schoenecker, who served as dean of the School of Business at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville from July 1, 2016, until retiring on June 30, 2023.

During Schoenecker’s 31-year career at SIUE, his primary teaching responsibilities were in the areas of strategic management and entrepreneurship.

“When he was dean of the School of Business at SIUE, the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) was part of his department,” Mupereki said. “When JewelRide started, we got some tremendous help and mentorship from the SBDC and its director Jo Ann Di Maggio May (who introduced Schoenecker on Monday).

“We participated in the Metro East Start-Up Challenge, which is run by the SBDC, and we were one of the winners. The SBDC pushes hard to develop businesses in the area, but it also tries to promote growth in those businesses and we’re proud that JewelRide is an example of what can be done.

“We saw a need in our area and came up with a solution for it. JewelRide was started by a pediatrician and a pharmacist couple (Mupereki and his wife, Dr. Rutendo Faith Nkomo). We’re health professionals and we understand what it’s like for people to have to miss a medical appointment. It shapes our approach about what we do.”

Schoenecker, meanwhile, saluted JewelRide for its continued growth as the company marked its fourth anniversary.

“During my time at the SIUE School of Business, we started a student-run entrepreneurship competition called ‘The Other 40.’ That title refers to the fact that the majority of new business start-ups do not make it to their fifth anniversary—in fact, many do not make it past year one or two,” Schoenecker said. “So, this milestone is really important, and I hope everyone here takes an opportunity to reflect on this achievement.”

‘Fulfilling experience’

Another highlight of Monday’s event was the surprise presentation of a $1,000 travel gift certificate to Leslie Berkman, who is the longest-serving team member for JewelRide.

Toni Crunk, manager of Ambassador Travel and Cruises, presented the certificate to the delight of the guests, who gave a resounding round of applause.

“When I found JewelRide, nearly three years ago, during the height of the pandemic, I was simply looking for a driving job,” Berkman said. “What I found would turn out to be much more.

“Working for JewelRide has been a great and fulfilling experience for me, allowing me the opportunities to not only see new places, but to meet and help people, giving my life a new purpose.”

‘Peace of mind’

Mupereki noted that dependability is one of the key factors that JewelRide provides to people who use the company’s services to get to their medical appointments.

“When people choose JewelRide, they should have peace of mind that we will be there for them,” Mupereki said. “We’re entrusted by families and nursing homes and different kinds of medical facilities and people to take care of their loved ones.

“We fully understand our role as a custodian of that trust from the community. We also want to listen to them and know how we can serve them even better.”

Services offered by JewelRide include:

  • Medical and hospital appointments
  • Dental appointments
  • Dialysis appointments
  • Wheelchair accessible (paralift) transportation
  • Assisted living transfers
  • Prescription pickup from drug stores/pharmacies
  • Tailor-made transportation needs
  • Senior transportation

JewelRide works with various health insurance companies including Medicaid-supported health plans and private pay options.

“We see these first four years as the beginning of the beginning. Our mission is to help more people, but we’re also proud that we have been able to help with creating jobs,” said Mupereki, who has plans to scale JewelRide into a major brand. “We have 25 employees and those are 25 families that are being impacted positively every day.

“Our celebration on Monday had two focuses. We were celebrating our hard-working and diligent team members. The second focus was to show our appreciation of the community, which has supported us from the beginning.”

For more information, visit, call 618-250-4771 or email The company is also available through social media on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.


Marion, Scott. “JewelRide celebrates fourth anniversary” The Intelligencer, Accessed June 12th, 2024.

September 21st, 2023|

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