By John Agbai, Co-Founder and CEO, Aspire Digital Lab
Aspire Digital Lab is an education solutions provider, focused on preparing students for the opportunities of the future.
The Startup partners with schools to improve students’ learning experiences, particularly in computer science, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) disciplines.
In this piece by the Co-Founder and CEO, John Agbai, he shared his experience following an encounter with #StartupSouth on Facebook, listing the steps he took to develop Textbooks.ng.
It is an inspiring read:
I think one of the best value I have received using Facebook was coming in contact with Startupsouth. I encountered #StartupSouth2 advert and being an ICT and Entrepreneurship enthusiast, I quickly registered to attend the program in Port Harcourt. I attended the main even which was a free and also paid for the evening dinner/networking session – where I met bright young minds.
I was blown away by the organization and how young people where using technology to change the business and service delivery narrative. With a family background of business (I was running our family textile business in Aba) I have always believed there was more and came in search of pathways to that more.
I started textbook.ng – an online bookstore for strictly Nigerian University text books/handouts. We were converting mostly Nigerian Universities, Polytechnic and College of education Lecturers’ hardcopy textbooks/handout into digital e-books (softcopy) for students to buy.
I knew the #StartupSouth ecosystem is where I should belong. I was eager to network and I made sure I did. I connected with Joel Amawhe of www.mypadi.ng, Gino Osahon (GDG Coordinator for Port Harcourt and presently the Central Manager Ken Soro Wiwa hub Port-Harcourt) as well as Mr.Uche Aniche – the convener of #StartupSouth.
When Aba was announced as the next host city for #StartupSouth3 I was determined to make it count – because Aba is where I live. I made the decision that my startup www.textbooks.ng will be one of the startup to pitch at the event and gain investment. Sadly, my startup was not shortlisted. Undeterred, I volunteered to assist in the organization of the event.
I was in charge of logistics and welfare for the startup teams, the invited special guests and the event venue. My single goal was getting an investor and a co-founder for my startup. Given my knowledge of the market in Aba, I also assumed the role of the tour guide taking delegates on a tour of the Manufacturing Clusters in conjunction with the traders’ leaders.
These offered me the opportunity to further network with the delegates and Founders of IT firms from across the country.
It was during those networking session at #StartupSouth3 – Made-in-Aba Edition that I met my co-founder and partner Edosa Obaseki – who was one of the delegates and mentors at the event. He got interested in one of my ideas which has today become – www.aspirelab.com.ng – an Edtech firm.
We are focused on preparing the African child for the opportunity of the digital future by partnering with primary/secondary schools to improve pupils/students learning experiences – particularly in Computer Science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. We started discussing in November 2017 and by Febuary 14, 2018, we officially launched our first school ICT LAB.
#StartupSouth and Mr.Uche have been of tremendous support. They did not only provide the platform to meet my partner and co-founder, but also kept mentoring me on Startup business management via online and whatsapp channels.
Starting www.aspirelab.com.ng has been a fantastic learning journey and I owe it all to #StartupSouth for making it possible. I pledge to always be a good ambassador to attract more investors to businesses in the South-South/South-East region of the country. Hopefully will relaunch www.textbooks.ng. l am grateful to #StartupSouth.
Co-founder & Ceo, AspireLab.com.ng, John Agbai wrote, first, via Medium.