Mr Dimeji Falana, a 31 year – old software developer is a co-founder of edves.net, which was launched recently in Ilorin, Kwara state, said his passion is to see Nigeria’s educational system witness electronic upgrade. He spoke with BINTA SHAMA
Why the attraction?
It’s been like forever seeing myself changing the Nigerian educational sector to a more vibrant and transparent system but needed a bit of a push, not until it dawned on me in 2009 when my Co-founder, Dare Adebayo, back then in the University of Ilorin, who happened to be a classmate in Computer Science Class 2010, met a School owner Mrs Onyejekwe of Flora schools in Ilorin losing out on the day-to-day running of her growing School. This was diminishing the standard of education delivery to the growth and inability to keep track of payments, student performances and communication with parents concerning their wards in school.
Our discussion with her, made us discover we needed to start up by using her as our first client to manage the school information real-time and efficiently.
We then proposed a website design and school management system for her. We gave her the first version same year, but it failed. So, we went back to fix the issues (bugs) on the software in 2010 and everything started working. Which is in use till date by the school.
We discovered a lot of private owners were experiencing similar problems, by convincing the Private School Owners through consistency and improvement, we have been able to sign up over 280 schools in 14 states.
We officially launched and rebranded the software and gave it a name called Edves (Education Vessel). We incorporated it in 2016.
What were the costs while starting?
The cost for a school per term could range between N40, 000 to N1.5 million, depending on the features demanded. We are running the system at a profitable standard; we sell and reinvest the profit.
Why do you think implementing this system in the educational sector is important in Nigeria?
Well, Edves is software built to automate school processes and operations because we discovered that over 70% of Nigerian teachers lose time on manual and paperwork’s to record their payments, grades, and lessons notes. And these teachers cannot crosscheck student performances across different subjects and understand the success and failure rates before the students are exposed to external exams like WAEC. So also it has come to our notice that these teachers hardly update their lesson notes, so they teach outdated contents.
This is extremely important to the Nigerian Education System because all will benefit from it especially school owners, teachers and parents in the sense that the system will help teachers focus more on research work and parents can download the App and would be involved in the day to day activities of their kids performances and punctualities in school. For parents that aren’t use to the sophisticated phones, will receive daily, weekly or monthly messages on their wards performances so they can be carried along even while at home.
Not much for now since we have an idea and knowledge of what we are doing, our desire is the need to support educators to deliver quality education which is really hard to satisfy the school needs. We have built Edves to be very robust to accommodate different schools using various Curricula.
For now we have our offices in Lagos, Ilorin and Port Harcourt. We hope to aim higher to have easy access to schools beyond Nigeria. It has been very tough because we are a revenue company. We sell and reinvest the profit.
Can you share your achievements?
Well, we owe all thanks to God for everything because within a short period we have been able to expand to other places in Nigeria namely; Ilorin, Portharcourt and Lagos. Stretching down memory lane, early last year we were admitted into Intel Business Growth Academy delivered by CoCreation Hub (CCHub, -the company that invited the founder of Facebook to Nigeria Last year). And this aided our expansion to Lagos from Ilorin.
Also in same year, we won second Place in Nigerian Techcircle Competition.
In 2017, we emerged among the 81 top Startup Companies in Nigeria to win the Aso Villa Demo Day
(AVDD) grant powered by World Bank and Department for International Development (DFID).
And also in 2017, we emerged 3rd place in Seedstars National contest.
But early this year, we started our community programme called Edves Catalyst, aimed at school growth, automation and societal impact. Edves Catalyst is a 1-day boot camp for School owners and teachers in Private and Public Schools in Africa to get close to our clients, the School & Teachers, where we lecture them.
This year alone between the months of March and October we have visited few places like Ibadan, Kadunna, Kano and Lagos, with a total of 700 schools in participation in respect of this and we hope to do more to achieve our goals.
Do you have expectations?
Yes, we do have expectations. We are on a milestone of 1000 schools. And our ultimate goal is to automate 30% of African schools in the next 10 years i. e 60,000 out of over 200, 000 schools. I see myself supporting more schools with Edves and the power of Artificial Intelligence.
My expectations for the younger ones are to encourage them study hard and put it to practical to make it memorable.
While my expectation from the Government is to Improve enabling environment, promoting local Startups and business-friendly policies which are key to the growth of Startups in Nigeria, and we can’t continue to do this on a small scale.