Edusko.com is nothing like the education sector has ever experienced. Edusko bridges the gap between good schools and parents, thereby making the right schools available accessible and affordable to students. Unlike school directories that you are probably used to, Edusko.com actively takes good schools right to the doorpost of parents and interested parents to the door posts of schools, with a most amazing ease and efficiency.
We met with the founder, Jide Ayegbusi. He took us through the journey of conception and growth of his Education Tech Startup.
- Give us a brief description of background (your family, education, childhood dreams etc.)
My name is Jide Ayegbusi. I’m the founder of Edusko.com. I’m from Ikare, Akoko North East local government area of Ondo State. I grew up from a humble home but my parents managed to give me education.In 2008, I graduated top 3 in my class with a CGPA of 4.05 to bag a BSc degree in Psychology (Adekunle Ajasin University). In 2009/2010, I participated in the mandatory one-year NYSC program in Bayelsa State where my published career book for secondary school students and other community development initiatives won me corps member of the year award.
Previously in my career, I’ve demonstrated remarkable abilities and achievements in Brand Management, Channel Management, Strategic Planning, Advertising and Project Management. I love writing; I have written well over a 100 articles featured in top media platforms such as Brandpower, BrandIQ, Lagos Television, Sportsday, goal.com, ideaslane.com, techpoint.com, vc4a.com, Brandish, College People etc.
I’ve always loved quality education from my childhood even though my parents could barely afford it.My dogmatic ardour and fervour for quality and affordable education in Africa led my team to found Edusko.com.
Founded in mid-2015, Edusko.com is an edtechstartup that connects parents and students with good and affordable schools in Nigeria and beyond. I am currently inspiring a team of five in this organisation to connect thousands of Africans to over 20,000 good and affordable schools before 2019.
- Considering that you became an entrepreneur, who had the greatest impact on you growing up?
My mother was such an incredible woman. She had an unflinching passion for entrepreneurship. I learnt from her zest for business and her gusto for success. Besides my parents, passionate entrepreneurs that I’ve read about and many that I came in contact with in person had in one time or the other had great impact on my becoming an entrepreneur.
- What kind of jobs (if any) did you have before starting your business and what did you learn from them?
I sold insurance policies briefly for Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc before joining Mediaplus International, a leading integrated marketing communications company in Nigeria. Within two years of joining Mediaplus, I rose to become the Agency’s Brand Strategist. I left Mediaplus International to join Edumark Ltd, a leading education marketing outfit before pitching my tent with Vitafoam Nigeria Plc as sales manager. At Vitafoam, I successfully created channel opportunities and strategically positioned over 30 channel partners for financial growth, improved sales turnover and business expansion.
The sales and marketing skills I learned from these places have been very helpful.
- What motivates you and how do you get through the day?
I close from work every day eagerly looking forward to the following day. I’m extremely passionate about success and I try to make every day counts.
- What is your favourite part of your business?
I love marketing and I’m finding it interesting using my marketing skills to promote Edusko.com. Great product or service without acceptance from the market would fail abysmally, same as great product or service without awareness in the market. So communicating our brand values and promise to our stakeholders such as parents, students and schools is my favourite part of the business.
- Is there anyone you work with that inspires you and how?
Although I’m an intrinsically motivated person, I’ve been blessed with a lot of great people in the past and present who have greatly impacted my life and career. I have such great people like Mr. Alex Goma, MD of PZ Cussons Nigeria;Mrs. Biola Alabi, Former MD of MNET Africa; Mr.Patrick Okebie, Chairman of Atlantees Group; Dr. Ghalib Fahad of Grenville International School; Dr. Nun Aiyegbusi an amazing uncle of mine and many more. I’m also blessed with brilliant young sharps in Edusko team who have keyed into the vision so passionately and are willing to offer their best despite the not-so-fantastic pay.
- When did you start your business and what convinced you to take the leap?
Edusko was founded in June, 2015. The idea to found Edusko came in 2013 when I observed a huge gap in the process of finding good schools in Africa. I knew that success of a startup most especially in the education sector is dependent on the availability of quality data. So we used 2 years to self-gathered data that would be very useful for our business operations. We gathered this data to a reasonable level and founded Edusko even though I wasn’t too clear where the journey would lead us eventually. We had to break the ice knowing fully well that our business model shouldn’t be perfect to start the journey.
- What challenges did you face and what mistakes did you make?
One of our early challenges was acceptance from the schools. The penetration was very low and the “top schools” were not willing to listen to us. Funding was also a major challenge. Edusko was bootstrapped with a very lean budget and this affected our scaling speed. One of the mistakes we made was to go to the media without any existing traction. We started approaching tech media for PR without any existing traction thereby exposing ourselves to possible competitions.
- In what ways did you mature as a person during the process?
Our mistakes made us stronger and mature. We’ve learned a lot from these mistakes. We’ve also received a lot of constructive criticism from fellows who are genuinely interested in Edusko success. I’ve also learned that low funding brouhaha could be managed if one isn’t biting more than one can chew. In as much as we loved to scale Edusko as quickly as possible, we also realized the need to bootstrap it to a level where genuine investors would be interested in our model.
- How were you able to grow your business?
The initial capital which was my personal savings helped in the early stage. We’ve been blessed with a highly motivated team and our individual skills are being used to grow the business. We are also fortunate to have started generating revenue six months after Edusko was launched. This fund is being reinvested to grow the business as well.
- What principles/ factors helped you and your business succeed?
First, you must believe and have passion for what you’re doing as an entrepreneur otherwise, failure looms.
Second, you must not be in business for wrong reasons. At Edusko, we strongly believe that we are in business to bridge a huge gap we discovered in the African education sector. We are passionate about connecting parents with good and affordable schools in Africa and beyond with ease. This is what drives us and brings us joy not the revenue.
- What are the words that keep you going in your business?
I love this statement and I’ve often shared it with my team: “Success is never by accident neither is failure”. In other words, success and failure are predictive. At Edusko, we strongly believe that we are on the path of success and this is what’s keeping us going despite myriads of challenges we face daily.
- What is the next step for your business?
We are seeking funding to expand to other African countries. We also want to increase our capacity in Nigeria in terms of human capital, marketing and product development.
- What is your vision for your country and for Africa as a whole?
I yearn for Africa where quality education would be available and affordable. For example, Nigerians spend N1.5trillion annually for foreign education. This is disheartening!
There are over 80,000 government approved schools in Nigeria; only a few of these schools offer quality education that can raise the kind of leaders we deserve. These few schools are unbelievably expensive and very few Nigerians can afford them. The middle class are between the deep blue sea and the devil; they can neither afford these schools nor allow their children to experience the below the ebb kind of education offered by the many poorly funded schools available in the country.
Another challenge faced by Nigerians is to identify good schools amidst over 80,000 jostling for their attention.
In our own little way, we’ve created a solution (edusko.com) that is already partnering with over a thousand schools in Nigeria and beyond. Fortunately, many of these schools are willing to provide affordable school fees to the middle class. At the moment, over 5,000 parentsvisit edusko.com on a weekly basis to search through over 3,000 good and affordable listed schools.
It is also our belief that in the future, the below average schools would up their games to have access to parents and students on edusko.com. Through this mean, we are ensuring quality education in Nigeria. The rate at which Nigerians travel abroad, spend millions of dollars for quality education would also reduce drastically and our GDP would improve.
Through edusko.com, the feature of many African youths look brighter; generation of quality, credible and responsible leaders would be created.
- What advice do you have for people out there who want to start their own business?
Entrepreneurship for me is not just about starting a business and making money, it’s about problem solving. Opportunity for entrepreneurial success abounds where there many problems to be solved like we have in Africa. Think of a solution to one of these problems and you would become very successful.