Entrepreneurial Revolution I still believe is the solution to the problem faced with Nigeria and Africa. That is the solution we have always sort.
Sequel to this, I’m starting up a sponsored series where I host great entrepreneurs and their businesses. I believe reading these stories will go a long way to motivate and encourage upcoming entrepreneurs to keep up the uphill – such a lonely and boring place to be.
In this episode, I’ll love you to meet someone interesting, I have personally met this man in the city of Jos, at some point I have deliberately identified with his brand – you know great innovation when you see it, that’s my story with him. He is no other person than the winner of the prize for Innovation Award Etisalat Nigeria Ltd, 2015 – Mr. Obi Brown.
Obi Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Insight Africa, An award winning startup using technology to improve African students’ competence in math and the sciences. He is a young entrepreneur on an upward trend and regularly helps other young entrepreneurs make measurable progress in their entrepreneurial journey. Mr. Brown is utterly passionate about education.
Little wonder his startups bags the Prize for Innovation Award Etisalat Nigeria Ltd October 2015. The Prize for Innovation Award is given for an innovative product launched within 12 months of the year of the award. Insight Africa is also the Samsung Prize Winner for British Council Enterprise Competition, March 2016.
I got an opportunity to meet Mr. Obi Brown to give more info about his startup and here was what he had to say:
Like farmers on the African continent, there is a need for extension workers to help improve output, I believes science teachers need a network of support personnel and resources to help improve STEM Education outcomes. Education on the continent needs a boost. Science education needs a thrust else developing economies will always be just that.
After moving from secondary school to the university as a ‘good student’ I started university life with a few E’s in first year science. Over the years I’ve found that this phenomenon is a recurring reality for the vast majority of students. My hope is to reverse this. ‘To give them a better leg up’. So, I founded a company called Insight Africa and the team at IA crafted a product called StudyLab. Through StudyLab, We’ve had schools report a 40% improvement in math scores and a public school report a 98% pass rate in national exams in math. We’re focusing on expanding these outcomes and reaching more students around Nigeria and Africa.
In September 2015, Etisalat gave us a prize for innovation and a few months after, The British Council, along with Virgin Atlantic and Samsung West Africa gave us another award. The federal government of Nigeria also recently awarded us a grant for our work under the Aso Villa Demo Day (AVDD) in collaboration with the Growth and Empowerment Programme (GEM), a World Bank and FGN initiative.
These have been interesting times for us at Insight Africa.
I have been amazed at the pace at which this brand has gained acceptance and recognition, the truth is this: this is just one out of a million startups thriving and making Nigeria proud. This is a major motivation to every young and upcoming entrepreneur out there to choose this lonely but entirely rewarding uphill above all.
On September 9th 2016, Mr. Obi Brown granted an Interview with Peter Uzoho of thisdaylive.com about his startup – here are few of what Obi Brown shared:
You entered for the Etisalat Prize for Innovation last year and won. What motivated you to enter for the prize?
For a few years I have consulted in the field of education technology and recently I decided to develop this company called Insight Africa that creates exceptional resources that helps students prepare for a career in science and technology and we started off with Mathematics at the secondary school level and as we were finishing it up, we saw the Etisalat challenge and we thought that it was a nice idea and opportunity to showcase our innovation. So, we said let’s test our assumptions here, and we put in for the challenge and one day we got a call and the rest is history.
To SMEs, what are the pitfalls you think they should avoid in business?
First of all, keep your operating cost as low as possible until you achieve skill and business profitability. You know our facilities in Jos is number one but our operating cost is very low. We call it boot strapping. Secondly, I’m able to use my network because I grew up there, I’m able to use my network in universities and other places to attract content developers.
So I am leveraging my network capital, I am leveraging my social capital, I am leveraging an inexpensive model for development, if not we would have since gone out of business. And then looking for avenues like these to create brand, avenues like what we are doing now, a little bit of publicity, and then internet marketing to be able to create brand. But the issue for start-ups in SME is boot strapping. Really finding ways to get a lot done with a little.
This story is quite inspiring to me, every young entrepreneur most be ready to face the uphill of creating innovation, identify certain opportunities like Insight Africa did with Etisalat, and above all avoid some pitfalls.
Economic Revolution has introduced the Asian Tigers to the world, it has made America a force to reckon with over time, it is sure the pathway to greatness for Nigeria and Africa. I have hosted series of articles on my blog at dapsdiary on entrepreneurial revolution – click here to read more, and I shall be hosting another entrepreneur soon.
Together we can build the Nigeria and Africa of our dreams.