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Venture profile: Students Circle Network
This interview was conducted by Bertil van Vugt
Every month the VC4Africa team places a new venture in the spotlights. Now we will meet Gossy Ukanwoke who started the Students Circle Network.
How did VC4Africa help your venture so far?
“VC4Africa has helped me connect with like-minded entrepreneurs from Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana) who are eager to give resources and time for the growth of Students Circle Network in their countries. They have realized the importance of open education and how much it is needed to enable better academic experiences in Africa.”
Can you please describe your business idea?
“Our business idea is to integrate social experiences and free open online learning. This will enabe students to have that ‘classroom effect’ when studying and interacting with educators. This will drive better learning and e-education.
We are particularly excited about the African market because our materials come from the top global 200 Universities and these resources will be helpful for the creation of local content in Africa.
We are building an army, as I refer to our College Rep Volunteer program, where we pick a student from every university or college to represent the Students Circle Network. We give them the opportunity to work with a global company, give them exposure and the ability to get experience in the corporate field. They in turn represent Students Circle Network, hold live events and meet with the school management on Students Circle affairs.”
Why is your idea unique?
“Our idea is unique because we have gone a step ahead of the regular online education. We have also gone a step ahead of the normal social networking as we have found a unique way of mating these two markets in one. Most importantly is our membership with the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which gives us access to unlimited course resources that we have ordered and prepared in the best usable way for students.
We also partner with individual schools to provide our premium academic solutions to them for free, giving them exposure on our network and help them get across to our over 200,000 prospective student list. They in turn help us grow within their institution.”
What are the key milestones achieved to date?
– We launched our Beta website on June 1 2010
– Usage by over 5,000 students – October 2010
– OCWC Membership – November 2010
– Public Service – December 2010
– Over 1 Million Visits – December 2010
– Over 2 Million Visits – January 2011
– Averaging over 50,000 visits daily – January 2011
Who is your target audience?
“High school students, university students and teachers/researchers/graduate workers. We reach out to high schools and high school students to provide them with our special pre-collegiate program for free. This program lets college students test run college program courses prior to their resumption into college. They can now decide whether they will still go ahead in that field or make a change.
University students can access our unlimited resources and use them for reference and help in their current academic programs. They can also interact with the professors on our network when they need help in assignments or projects.
Teachers/ Researchers/ Graduate Workers can access our resources for their research considering that educational contents are changing daily and they need to keep abreast with current information on their disciplines in the case that they need to research or teach.”
What are you going to do to get your venture at the top of the VC4Africa ranking?
“I guess the first on my list is what am doing now. This interview is going to give Students Circle Network the well-needed exposure it needs in the VC4Africa community, as well as the African entrepreneurial market as a whole considering VC4Africa’s respect and stand in the African Technological market. Getting my collaborators on the VC4Africa network will also drive this.”
How are you planning to use VC4Africa in the future?
“I hope to use VC4Africa to find investors or regional sponsors who will invest in the growth of Students Circle Network in the African region. Also connecting with entrepreneurs whose partnerships can drive growth of Students Circle Network in their respective countries.
And I am quite hopeful about this considering that I have made such contact already in the community. Finally, I believe VC4Africa can give professional hands in the African market that Students Circle Network may hire or leverage on when getting deep into the African market.”
About zia505The world is changing right before my eyes. Sometimes I don't know how I will ever keep up. There are so many ideas floating around on this internet. If only I had the means to collect them....
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