There are two major challenges facing Nigeria’s education sector. One is quality while the other is access. Quality of education is generally low and many people can’t access education. About 67% of people who sat for the national university entrance exam in 2015 could not get a spot at any university in Nigeria. . Furthermore, Nigeria sends the most students abroad for education of any African country. This is because the demand is way higher than local universities can address. The story is the same for many African countries. ScholarX is hoping to help more Africans access higher education.
Cost is one of the major barriers to accessing higher education. Since applicants cannot get a spot locally, the alternative is foreign universities. Average cost of public university education in the United States is about $10,000. This is the annual cost for a four-year degree programme. Many applicants simply cannot afford it. The minimum wage in Nigeria is presently 18,000 Naira monthly (about $50). Although there might be an increase later this year. ScholarX is connecting applicants with scholarship opportunities. It is also helping them fund their education through crowdfunding.
Faith History had a chat with Co-founder, Bola Lawal. Take a listen below.
Bola Lawal Is Chief Executive Officer at ScholarX
Bola Lawal bagged an Accounting degree from the University of Houston. He has a ten year work experience in corporate America. Some of the organization he worked for include, ConocoPhillips and Shell. He also worked at Accenture. Additionally, his roles spanned accounting and business consulting. Bola considers himself a TechPreneur. One of his favorite quotes is “If not us who, if not now when”. The quote is credited to Jewish Leader Rabbi Hillel.
According to Bola, one of the major reasons he decided to get an international degree was to help solve pan-African problems. The other members of the ScholarX founding team are Abayomi Johnson and Maxwell Ogunfuyi.
ScholarX Is Connecting Young Africans With Opportunities
ScholarX is an education financing startup. Its goal is to be the go-to company when it comes to paying for school. It is a bridge connecting young Africans with scholarship and funding opportunities. The startup also allows applicants put up their funding needs in a story format. Africans at home and in diaspora can then fund applicants after reading their stories. The startup is also working on connecting people with student loans. Students who are doing well in school would be able to get lower interest rates.
ScholarX launched its app in 2016 and it currently has over 20,000 users. So far, it has not received any form of external funding. Friends and family are its only source of funding. On September 1st 2017, it launched Village, its crowdfunding platform. On the platform, secondary and tertiary students can create fund requests. Sponsors then look at the requests and fund them. The platform’s major sponsors are Africans in diaspora. Many of whom are eager to help students get an education. Their major requirement is a platform they can trust.
ScholarX Has An Holistic Impact Model
The startup’s impact model includes the following:
- Access to information
- Access to education
- Diaspora involvement
- Community development and also
- Workforce development
The startup believes applicants don’t just want a good education. They also want to be ready for work. It has built its platform with this in mind. Applicants can search for scholarships based on their state of origin. They can also search for international scholarships. Applicants get in-app notifications when new scholarships are added. Additionally, applicants get notifications when scholarships are due.
The Village platform has a rigorous vetting process for fund requests. Once requests are funded, money is paid directly to applicant’s school. Funds are not given to students. This is part of the startup’s transparency efforts. Sponsors can easily track funded requests on the platform. The startup is hoping to extend its platform so sponsors can directly message funded applicants.
ScholarX Has Big Plans For The Future
Later this year (2018), ScholarX will launch its Smart Scholar service. This service will provide short-term loans to applicants for education needs. It also plans to open a local office. The office will be called, Success Hub. Applicants can visit the Hub to get information. They will be able to get information regarding their higher education goals. Applicants will be able to interact with Advisors at the Hub. They will also be able to apply for scholarships. Additionally, they will also get advice on career options.
ScholarX created its crowdfunding platform because there are very few scholarship opportunities locally. Many of the world’s best education systems offer quite a number of scholarship opportunities to applicants. The startup’s major objective is to put this information in the hands of Africans.
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