Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Herbert Uba, Owner of primaEd, located in Harare, ZI, Africa.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At primaEd, we develop and offer, to educational institutes and benefactors in Zimbabwe, competitively priced ICT solutions to supplement routine learning in STEM. Our products and services include e-learning solutions, offline and online testing programs, kit projects, and training workshops.
Our most immediate goal is to accelerate the national efforts in ICT adaptation and integration in learning institutions. To achieve this goal, we are building the first complete ZIMSEC (local examination board in Zimbabwe) curriculum website for schools.
Our products and services focus on fun and intuitive learning techniques that encourage scientific curiosity and innovation and promote local interest in research, experimentation, authorship, and academia. We are also big on data analysis to inform strategy in injecting funds into the educational sector by benefactors and policy-makers. All in all, our work spans 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
We think of our solutions as "plugins" for schools, colleges, and universities in Zimbabwe and beyond. We add measurable value without disrupting the schedules of our clients. In fact, some of our services are designed to scale learning to accelerate learning and enhance retention and comprehension, especially in regions with high student-to-teacher ratios.
Tell us about yourself
I did my studies in two countries. From Primary School through High School, I was in Zimbabwe. I then did my Electrical Engineering degree in India. The contrast in the education systems, with strengths and weaknesses in both systems, inspired my interest in information curation (proper efficient and interpretive effective communication).
After my engineering studies, I started working freelance as a Physics expert for one of the biggest Edutech companies in the world based in the US. I think of my experience there as my apprenticeship phase. A few years into my work, the Covid-19 pandemic happened and starting an Edutech company felt like the logical next step, and so I did.
The 2019 Covid pandemic exposed learning institutes in Zimbabwe and Africa as functionally disparate yet equally overwhelmed and plagued by the challenges of drudgery and limited diversity of focused, curated, and timely resources.
I teamed up with two strategic colleagues (Trust Katsande and Michael Zenda), and we co-founded PrimaSolve Investments, the parent company of primaEd. Trust Katsande is an entrepreneur, financier, and marketing strategist with extensive business experience. Michael Zenda is trained in technical writing, research, and general authorship.
Together, we strive to consistently develop well-thought-through and easy-to-dispatch solutions to digitize learning and interconnect schools. I am driven by the prospect of enhancing learning while helping to detect and arrest inequalities and democratizing access to quality education in Zimbabwe and other African nations.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I led the creation of a blueprint for developing the first syllabus-focused website in Zimbabwe. We have mapped the production process for all the modalities: text, video & online testing. Our production practices allow for very low-cost data usage. For instance, data usage costs can be as low as 1MB/min for our video content. This is an excellent feat since data tariffs are very high in Zimbabwe, with most students being from low-income households.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
You have to accept learning as much as everyone else in the business, or you won't grow.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Stick with your day job until your business takes off.
- Don't make assumptions about your potential customers. Engage them.
- Unpack every failure with your team, and don't take it personally.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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