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#AfricaMonth: Bridging the education gap with learner-created content

Presto Academy was born from two university students' recognition of their peers struggle to make the transition between high school and varsity, and their willingness to help them.
Shivad Singh
Both recent graduates of UCT, Shivad Singh (22) and Fuaad Coovadia (22) are the co-founders of Presto Academy; with Coovadia receiving a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford from September. The Red Bull Amaphiko Academy in turn noticed them, and invited the young entrepreneurs to partake in the 2017 grassroots social entrepreneurship incubation programme.

Here Singh gives us a little background into the Presto Academy and where they aspire to take it...

BizcommunityTell us about your start-up and the inspiration behind it?

Presto Academy gets the smartest students across the country to create content for other learners. This content is available on our website and through physical books. During our first year of university, Fuaad Coovadia and I noticed many of our friends struggled making the adjustment from high school to university. We also had many friends that struggled immensely at high school. Through student-based teaching, our mission is to make learning simpler, easier and more engaging for all students.

BizcommunityWhere do you plan on taking it from here?

We have already struck deals to supply the major bookstores across the country. We would still like to get our books into as many more stores and retailers as possible. We aim to expand our “What They Don’t Teach in School” series to students in the rest of Africa by the end of 2018. We would like to further experiment with new technologies such as mobile apps to expand our reach across Africa.

BizcommunityHow important do you feel it is to be introduced to entrepreneurship and innovation at educational level?

The earlier your start something, the more you have time to learn. If you start with entrepreneurship at a young age, you have a head start in life. You can afford to make mistakes, fail and take more risks because you don't really have anything to lose at a young age. I truly believe that every high school should teach entrepreneurship. Even if you don't want to become an entrepreneur, you will learn many skills and be able to embrace failure. This mindset will help you throughout your life.

BizcommunityHow necessary are initiatives like the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy to the development of entrepreneurship in South Africa?

They are of utmost importance! South Africa isn't as progressive compared to other countries such as the US when it comes to the development of entrepreneurs. We need all of the resources, connections and support that we can get!

BizcommunityWhat advice do you have for young entrepreneurs who are just starting out themselves?

Take time to decide if this is what you really want to do in your life. Understand that entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride with many challenges. Never stop learning. Don't take rejection personally so keep on persisting. Finally, remember that you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take! (If you remember this last piece of advice then you will be successful.)

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