“At the beginning of 2020, we had two strategic goals: to expand into international markets and to reach the grassroots with tech skills,” says Adeola Owosho, Vice President International Business at Utiva.
“In the third quarter, we finally launched ‘The Nucleus’, an encrypted device with more than 40 well-curated pre-installed learning content with zero reliance on the internet, that allows Africans in the remote regions now access tech skill training.”
For an African, the cost of learning premium tech skills is too high because of the associated cost of the internet and its accessibility. More than 85 per cent of people abandon technology training because it is four times more expensive to access quality internet in most parts of Africa.
This greatly contributes to the skill gap that Africa has, hence leaving us at almost 34 per cent unemployment rate. Without quality education, especially the type that connects Africa to the digital economy, it will be impossible to get out of poverty.
For instance in 2019, 3.3 million jobs were unfilled due to this skill mismatch and the current trends makes Africa less competitive.
This problem is what Utiva aims to solve.
Launched in 2017, Utiva is a fast-rising technology education company that develops and strengthens the African workforce by helping people learn premium digital skills and transition into new tech roles in emerging industries.
The first version of the Nucleus is designed as a dongle with about 300G storage space encrypted with 4 layers of security. The learning content are structured and well organised in folders – each folder has a unique passkey so learners access what they pay for only.
“We currently work with students across 25 universities through a structured partnership with the Nigerian Higher Education Institutions where we have trained over 10,000 young Nigerians from these Universities. We are also one of the strategic partners of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) responsible for deploying. The Nucleus technology to train recent graduates in Nigeria,” said Owosho.
“Utiva makes money through sales of the dongle. Today this is largely powered by B2B and B2G partnerships who fund the projects that deploy this dongle but, with just US$80, a young person from any location can also pay for the nucleus and get it within 24 hours.
“Over the past 7 months, the Ninja Accelerator organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in partnership with Ventures Platform Foundation has supported our growth tremendously and fast-tracked the implementation of and roll out of over 5,000 nucleus devices. Our team grew by 25 per cent within seven months and we increased leadership capacity to capture new market opportunities. Most of all, we have also been able to increase student participation by almost 75 per cent.”