Cameroon-based Prepdia Wants to Connect Students with Reliable Tutors
More often than not, parents are usually bothered about their children’s poor performance and most times they try to manage the problem themselves.
However, Predia a technology cum education online platform founded by Malieh Maxime is helping Cameroonian parents and students to address this issue in a bid to help these children perform well academically, through a system that collects information of able and willing teachers who teach at the comfort of the children’s homes.
In an interview with Founders Africa, Malieh explains the solutions Prepdia is offering and its importance to the education sector in Cameroon.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Malieh Maxime, a 22 years old Cameroonian, Masters student at the Faculty of Industry Engineering, University of Douala.
I study Software Engineering and I’m the founder of Prepdia.
Tell us about Prepdia and the solutions you are offering
Prepdia is an online platform that connects parents having children in primary and secondary schools with reliable tutors who teach these pupils and students various subjects at the comfort of their homes.
We are providing parents with a very easy and stress-free way to find trustworthy
tutors and we also ensure that these tutors do their jobs exceptionally.
What inspired the idea for it?
After obtaining my GCE A/L in 2015, I aspired to be an engineer but my parents
told me they couldn’t afford it. I told my parents I will be able to take care of
myself by tutoring others.
I passed the engineering entrance exam and moved to Douala, but couldn’t find a home class to teach in the first year. Fortunately, my parents were able to help. The next year, my friend introduced me to a parent who needed a tutor. I was amazed at the joy and happiness the parent expressed in finding a tutor. That’s when I realized that while many passionate youths are looking for home classes to teach, parents are also finding difficulties in locating tutors.
Today, I’m challenging myself to connect parents with reliable tutors through Prepdia. The happiness that parent expressed inspired me to build Prepdia.
What’s the greatest challenge you encountered when you started
The greatest challenge I encountered was getting the funding that is needed to run the business I aspired to. I learned that I had to lean low, start small and grow great.
There are a number of players in the tutoring space, how do you plan
to uniquely position and set Prepdia apart from competitors?
Attempts to solve this problem are being made by local tutoring centers and
startups. They solve the underlying problem of connecting parents to tutors but miss the big picture; the aim of the parent hiring a tutor which is to improve the academic performance of these students.
No follow-up is carried out by these
agencies to ensure the academic improvement of students. They don’t only lack a wide variety of tutors but also focus on a very small region due to the inadequate use of technology.
Payment of their tutors is challenging for parents and tutors as they are done in person.
We are using technology to gather a wide variety of potential tutors, verifying them thoroughly using background checks and competency tests, through a semi-automated system.
We follow up on students’ progress monthly by encouraging our tutors to do monthly assessments and also from the feedback of parents.
The platform is simple enough for parents and tutors and handles everything from the booking of a tutor to payment of the tutor which is done online using our application. Parents and students can also rate tutors, which help other parents in choosing a tutor.
And finally, our unique customer service and strong guaranty of quality service contribute to keep us away from the crowd. We target parents with children in primary and secondary schools seeking academic improvement and competent youths capable of teaching.
How has the response been since the launch?
Given that we just launched our service a few days ago, we are already seeing great improvements and teachers are already welcoming the idea.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship journey
My entrepreneurship journey started while I was still very young, about the age of 13. Some people in my family run small businesses. On weekends I used to sell tomatoes and other foodstuffs for my aunt.
This experience gave me an opportunity to interact with clients and I really learned to serve them better. I started growing the love for serving others and for running a business and I definitely knew that someday, I will own a business.
After assisting my aunt and other family members for about 5 years, I had to change town because I was to school at a University far from town. This was a great opportunity I had because I witnessed a problem firsthand and till date, I am solving that problem in the most efficient way than everyone else.
What’s your most exciting moment as an entrepreneur?
I really enjoy it most when I receive calls from clients asking me more about the service Prepdia provides and how they can benefit from it, how people really get happy for using the services I provide.
What’s the one thing that inspires you?
I am inspired by the number of students I have the opportunity to shape their futures, by the number of youths that I can improve their living standards by providing them with jobs and most importantly, by the number number of parents I can put smiles on their faces by helping them raise successful children.
What are the future plans for Prepdia?
This upcoming academic year, we are planning to help 1000 parents raise successful children by connecting them with reliable tutors and providing 1000 potential job opportunities for our youths.
In 3 years, Prepdia is looking forward to assisting 10,000 parents and work with over 7,000 tutors nationwide.
From your experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you
give young African entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Being a starter myself, I am advising African entrepreneurs to never underestimate the power of communication. They should always seize
every opportunity they have to make their dreams known. Just communicating my idea has opened me to a whole lot of opportunities.