In 2016, Forbes Africa named PrepClass in its 30 most promising younger entrepreneurs in Africa checklist, and quick ahead to a 12 months later, the training platform that connects learners and tutors was chosen for the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund.
They’ve additionally been awarded $322,000 grant.
The Fund supplies chosen startups in Africa and Asia with grant funding, technical help, and the chance to associate with cellular operators of their markets to assist scale their services into sustainable companies with constructive socio-economic influence.
PrepClass was based in 2013 by Chukwuwezam Obanor and Olumide Ogunlana, graduates of Electrical Electronics Engineering from the College of Lagos (UNILAG). Learn their function on our BN Making It! column .
In an interview with BellaNaija, the founders inform us how they had been in a position to get chosen, share concepts for startups on how one can increase cash in Africa, and in addition discuss how they intend to alter the face of training in Africa.
Inform us about the way you heard of the grant
The grant was launched round June 2016 by GSM Affiliation often known as GSMA. It’s the commerce physique that represents the pursuits of cellular operators worldwide. Roughly 800 cellular operators are full GSMA members and an extra 300 firms within the broader cellular ecosystem are affiliate members. They launched the “GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund” to supply chosen startups in Africa and Asia with grant funding, technical help, and the chance to associate with cellular operators of their markets to assist scale their services into sustainable companies with constructive socio-economic influence.
Once they launched the fund, it was introduced on a number of tech blogs right here in Nigeria like Techcabal and Techpoint. We noticed the data on-line, learn the eligibility standards and all the things they had been searching for resonated very strongly with what we’re doing and what we plan to do within the close to future. So we utilized for it.
What do you suppose you probably did in a different way from different candidates that obtained you chose?
Similar to each software, this grant has its personal particular and distinctive set of standards earlier than a startup will be eligible. Startups on this grant must fall in both of the 2 following classes:
- A Sharing Economic system: any mobile-based resolution that permits low-income residents to generate earnings by means of sharing, e.g. the best way Uber permits drivers earn cash by means of its platform or Prepclass permits tutors earn cash.
- Companies for SMEs : any mobile-based resolution that unlocks productiveness and progress for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Extra particulars concerning the necessities will be discovered here
Prepclass suits into the Sharing economic system enterprise mannequin completely and we’ve a formidable super monitor document of success. Even earlier than making use of for the grant, Prepclass had been in full working for over 2 years, we’ve facilitated over 100,000 hours of tutor and unlocked passive earnings for tutors that they might have in any other case not have had entry to.
The second purpose can be that our imaginative and prescient to leverage on the ability of cellular know-how in scaling our influence on training throughout the nation resonated very strongly with them. GSMA has a bias for cellular options; they’re keenly keen on companies which have the potential to make use of cellular know-how to scale their companies. Within the close to future, Prepclass can be launching a cellular app that enables our tutor scale their influence past the 1-1 constraint of the traditional residence tutoring mannequin. Tutors would be capable to attain a whole lot or thousand of learners together with those who they aren’t in shut bodily proximity with
How can startups in Africa increase cash/entry grants like this?
Elevating cash may be very very robust in Nigeria. The capital market is small. Nigerian buyers are solely used to conventional enterprise fashions so its robust for them to grasp/ put money into know-how startups. The rates of interest in banks are outrageous with double digits and the situations for accessing the loans will be ridiculous. Grants and initiatives like this are a really possible and affordable option to increase funds in Nigeria. There are such a lot of of them with completely different guidelines and standards to pick out winners, the necessary factor is ensuring you might be correctly knowledgeable. Within the tech ecosystem, one straightforward manner is to observe the tech blogs religiously, subscribe to newsletters and attend occasions now and again.
In any case, it’s far more necessary to be targeted on the enterprise quite than simply chasing grants. A lot of the accessible grants on the market would solely sponsor companies which can be already doing very nicely and on a path to changing into a serious success.
How do you plan to spend this grant and what are your plans for the subsequent 5 years?
With this grant, we’d be shifting to the subsequent part in our enterprise evolution, we like to think about it as Prepclass 2.0. The grant comes with the help of GSMA in serving to to facilitate a partnership with a cellular community operator in Nigeria.
Prepclass 2.Zero will be capable to present extra passive earnings for our clever and hardworking tutors by making it potential for them to achieve extra learners whereas we leverage on the infrastructure of cellular community operators to micro invoice learners at scale. As such we might be investing quite a bit in know-how and in instructional content material with the intent of accelerating our penetration within the Nigerian market.
At PrepClass, our aim has at all times been to considerably enhance the educational final result of learners whereas creating further earnings for tutors in a secure atmosphere. Shut to three years of aggressive execution, we stay fully true to this mission and now utilizing cellular know-how we’d make it potential for tutors to create and add domestically related video, audio and textual content content material essentially for them to show learners at scale thus eradicating any bodily boundaries.
PrepClass is the one startup from West Africa chosen for the grant. See different chosen startups HERE.