Catching ’em Young – Is This The New Strategy Of SA EdTech Startup SkillUp Tutors?

By  |  August 27, 2018

In what seems like a new pivot to their business model, Cape Town-based EdTech Startup SkillUp Tutors that offers parents and students across South Africa access to thousands of vetted tutors, launched its own coding course, utilising its proprietary Teaching Kids to Code software.

The startup had secured Series A funding round from Knife Capital earlier this year. As per a release sent to WeeTracker, the funding is being applied to accelerate user acquisition of learners and tutors, leverage partnerships with content providers and scale the business internationally.

SkillUp launched its pilot coding project in partnership with Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School in Cape Town. The edtech startup has developed a course that would be aimed at developing kids’ coding fundamentals, and a team of expert tutors would assist kids to build their own websites using HTML, CSS and an introduction to JavaScript.

The startup claims to have equipped more than 300 girls from grades 3 to 6 at the School, how to code. These students are given various topics to build a website covering elementary & contemporary subjects.

South Africa’s unemployment rate among young people aged 15–34 is 38,2%, implying that more than one in every three young people, do not have employment. Moreso, South Africa struggles with chronic lack of technical talents, which is a particular hindrance in its becoming a digital economy. What could be guessed as both intelligent and responsible move, the startup seemingly has set its strategy to catch ’em young. The success of this project might be a step towards creating more skilled and employable youth.

Matthew Henshall, CEO, and Co-Founder of SkillUp says, “The program is intended to equip kids with a fundamental and ubiquitous skill to help them navigate the ever-changing world of technology. These young girls we are teaching have been highly engaging and are already adding employable skills to their yet-to-exist CV’s. In a short couple of months, these 8 to 12-year-olds will be streaks ahead of their contemporaries, not only in South Africa but on a global playing field.”

While the pilot coding project is currently being implemented at Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School, the startup intends to add other schools and individuals to this project. SkillUp has plans to expand its offering to more schools in Southern Africa and even further abroad in 2019.

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