Carerott, an online mentorship community for South African students, has gone live with the goal of connecting ambitious scholars with mentors in their desired institutions and fields of study.
Students can now register on Carerott to gain access to over 1,000 student mentors from Walter Sisulu University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), with co-founder Pumelela Mpambani telling Disrupt Africa the aim of the platform is to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds in reaching tertiary education.
This is done by linking ambitious scholars with tertiary mentors in their desired institutions and fields of study, with the idea for Carerott born after Mpambani and his co-founder Lusindiso Qhusheka – both from Butterworth – realised the tribulations involved with reaching, and succeeding at, university.
“We dedicated the platform to cushioning the transition of a student from high school to tertiary,” he said, saying there was a lack of access to developmental information for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa, with has resulted in a large dropout rate.
“It is in reducing this dropout rate through mentorship where we saw a gap. Our competition are the institution websites, and other information apps, but they all lack the “personal” feel Carerott has through prioritizing Mentorship. We use enrolled students as ambassadors of their institutions,” Mpambani said.
The startup is self-funded, but a beneficiary of the Telkom Future Makers programme, which has provided the four-person team with an office, internet, telephone and business training.
“We are focused on tertiary and high school students, which means our targeted market for clients are institutions and organisations that are trying to service this market,” Mpambani said.
“These are institutions of higher education, government departments, and private organisations with education as a CSI priority.”
Carerott is currently working with Walter Sisulu University through its Enactus students, who will be representing the startup in the Enactus national competitions attended by all universities.
“With the understanding that education has no borders, we intend to start scaling throughout Africa and the globe as soon as we feel comfortable with our traction in South Africa,” Mpambani said.
With such impressive early uptake, monetisation plans are already afoot. Mpambani said Carerott was gearing up for an August launch of its corporate pages.
“The platform will give public and private institutions and organisations the ability to easily engage and recruit our targeted market, through creating corporate pages which are aimed at strengthening the corporate identity of each client,” he said.