Challenges Facing EdTech Startups in Nigeria

Challenges Facing EdTech Startups in Nigeria

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Edtech startups are at an upsurge recently. Internationally, we have seen the establishment of some startups revolutionizing learning. Locally, we also have edtech startups implementing their innovative ideas. In Africa, there is a great decline in the level of standard of living. This decline is also largely present in the educational system of Africa. It is not by mistake that there will always be colossal challenges confronting every startups – edtech startups, agritech startups, fintech startups etc.

Obviously, these startups are doing their bit in executing their projects. While some are doing financially well, others may be struggling to keep up with the fast pace of their sector. Even If you doze off fitfully, your competitors will overtake you. This is the case now in almost every sector – there is a cutthroat competition in almost every sector.

Generally, there are plentiful barriers to entrepreneur in developing countries where Nigeria is a perfect illustration of what developing country looks like. Considering the potential of our dear country, it is quite unfortunate they exist barriers despoiling its commercial sector. It is a fact that Africa comprises the youngest population in the world. Also, it has been prognosticated that the number may double by 2050.

According to Partech Ventures, in 2017, $560m was invested in African start-ups. South Africa received 30% of the funding, Kenya received 26% and Nigeria received 20%. At least, 87% of the funding went to technology firms concentrated on developing new online, mobile and financial services.

Just like the big enterprises, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have a large role to play in resuscitating our economy. They provide employment and stabilise the economy. The aforementioned facts explain why it is necessary the Nigerian government give adequate relentless support to entrepreneurs. In this regard, we are referring to the edtech sector without neglecting other sectors.

In this not-time-consuming article, I would like to highlight and expatiate on some of the major obstacles that pose threat to edtech startups. Five of them are:

1. Illiteracy: In Nigeria, edtech startups face this challenge, especially startups enhancing learning among students. This is one of the most prominent challenges edtech startups are facing. However, illiteracy in Nigeria and Africa in recent times has been mitigated to a large extent. This may be a result of the sustainable development goals being implemented all over the world.

Achieving a basic education can serve as a background to surge ahead for students. Edtech startups like Tuteria provide opportunity to learn. Even though these startups are willing to help, illiterate individuals lack access to education. Illiteracy may be the perennial phenomenon affecting the edtech startups.

2. Lack of Funds: One of the basic things a techpreneur must put in place for edtech startups is cash. Generally, funds are meant to finance a business. This also applies to the techpreneurs behind edtech startups.

Commonly, techpreneur make mistakes of not keeping adequate cash for the task at hand. And all over the world, every startups have to contend with limited capital.

Also, some of these startups lack knowledge of financing business. This snowballs into a gigantic problem for them – in another case, it may send the startup packing. This barrier may be self-inflicted borne out of negligence and lack of experience.

3. Paucity of Tech-savvy students: I once found myself assisting a final year students in operating a laptop. You heard that right. I mean a final year student – a student in his final year in the university. He approached me without feeling an iota of shame. Being oblivious of what is ahead, I advised him to adrenalize learning the operation of computer systems. He only wanted to copy some data from his phone to his laptop – that is way too simple!

The question I keep asking myself the day after that day was that: : ‘How is this guy going to do it (get a job) in the labour market?’ Well, a miracle could occur from any where. And no one is an island of knowledge.

Taking the common situation of this guy into consideration, you wouldn’t expect him to know any edtech startups that can boost his chances at life. This is largely present among the females. Only few among the females consider having a good command of computer systems.

Subsequently, lack of students with the drive to keep themselves abreast of the world of technology is one of the many challenges plaguing the sector. As a matter of fact, there are also several edtech startups providing basic and in-depth knowledge of some computer applications.

4. Epileptic electricity: The issue of electricity in Africa is somewhat not a dinner talk. It should be tackled by the government. This is one of the bothering issues African startups are encountering everyday. In Nigeria, bad electricity is becoming part of us. We are inured to it so much that we are oblivious of the damages it is inflicting on our economy.

An epileptic electricity like ours affects the edtech startups to a large extent. In a case where the students is taking online classes, the students will be dependent on electricity. Simply know that in such situation, no electricity, no study. Simple.

5. Lack of adequate attention by the government: The nonchalance of the government towards edtech startups is not encouraging. In developed countries like the United States and the Britain, edtech startups are being recognized for their humanitarian services. In spite of being profit-driven startups, they are enhancing learning and effectuating a revolution.

Through the award and money being gifted to them by the government, startups get to fund their startup and improve on certain policies. This will go a long way in ensuring seemliness in their day-to-day operation.

The Nigerian government has not been recognizing the edtech startups in the country. This should change. The government should check on these startups and their performances annually by organizing a competition or award giving ceremony.

Our government which is brimful of septuagenarians should do well to put favourable policies in place which the government and startups must abide by. This will help to regulate the operation of the sector.

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