Education

PRIYO Solar lab in a bag: Empowering teachers to improve the quality of education by equipping them with ICT and digital equipment

Written by Palesa Mahlatji

Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came

Palesa is a former banker turned information technology enthusiast she holds a B.Comm. In Marketing management and currently studying towards an Honors Degree in Business Management. her other qualifications include a certificate in Numerical Skills for business, Diploma in IT: End User Computer and Bookkeeping and accounting.

Growing up she used to believe that education was the key to her success after high school like many young South Africans she found herself unemployed desperately looking for a job. she was often told to go and apply online sadly she had never used a computer in her life. She finally made it into university and was often behind on her submissions as she was very slow in typing that is when she realized that the current education system did not prepare her to take advantages of the opportunities that exist in the current digital age.

In 2015 she resigned from the banking industry took out her provident fund and followed her passion to help other young people like herself to become employable by giving them skills that will make them creators of jobs instead of just looking to be employed and having gone through a similar situation she had better insight of the market that she was serving

 

As a CEO she has been able to grow the business annually and the work that she does has been recognized by several stakeholders in 2016 she was awarded with the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality heroes award for young person of the year. In 2017 she was part of the Red Bull Amaphiko academy and Ygap/spark international Accelerator program. In 2017 she was awarded with the Youth in ICT Award by the Government in Technology (GOVTECH). Won Engen pitch and polish (Umtata), GIBS Festival of ideas. In 2018 she won the start-up of the year PWC- Jury Award and won the SAB Innovation development award. Yet to her the biggest achievement are the lives that they transform through the business.

Link to online video  

Your products and services 

Priyo Tech is an (EdTech) company that has developed a portable, solar computer lab in a bag to convert classrooms into labs as to enable teachers from under-resourced schools in rural and peri-urban areas to improve the quality of education by equipping them with ICT skills and digital learning equipment such as laptops or tablets, E-learning digital library and a solar charging station this in-turn empowers learners to improve their grades, gain university entry, employment and improve the economy of the country. Our long-term strategy is to convert these normal classrooms into “smart classrooms” that use the internet of things to allow an improvement in the quality of education that empowers both teachers and learners with relevant data that allows them to make better-informed decisions when formulating educational content and management structures that will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

Your success factors 

To date we have already trained almost 5000 students and impacted a total of 883 students and sold 3 Solar lab-in-a-bag furthermore 150 of our students have received Learnership opportunity to further their careers, 15 are currently employed and 3 have established their own businesses. In June 2017 we were given 88 grade 8 students who had failed mathematics we taught them on how to use the E-School App and all 88 of them passed and are currently doing grade 9 as of 2018.

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing

By using renewable energy we are able to access rural and peri-urban areas that are off the grid. Secondly, we have worked closely with teachers and have gained teacher insight to make our product user-friendly.

Your business model 

Our Business to Business (B2B) customers are the Department of Education, Corporate companies and the schools our Business to Consumer (B2C) are the students and the teachers.

We offer the solar-lab-in- a bag and the training programs as a packaged solution using the product plus subscription revenue model for our B2B consumers and on-demand for our B2C customers to schools and rural communities.

We aim to be as self-sustainable as possible and have been able to generate revenues by working with the Department of education, Buffalo city metropolitan municipality, Red Bull, Spark International/YGap, and other companies

A few words about your competitors

Our competitors are school in a box, and the number of colleges. In most cases, we have chosen to collaborate with these institutions as most of them avoid going to rural and peri-urban areas.

Your website 

http://priyotech.co.za/

 

About the author

Palesa Mahlatji

Palesa holds a Bachelors of Commerce Degree in Marketing Management and is currently studying towards an Honours Degree in Business Management, she has a certificate in Numerical Skills for business and IT: End User Computer and a Diploma in Bookkeeping and accounting.She has worked as an Administrative officer at the IT Department at Caxton Netcafe, then employed by ABSA bank where she worked as a Digital sales consultant and was awarded as the top sales consultant from 2012-2013. She was later employed by Standard Bank as a Customer Consultant for the front of house. And was chosen as the only candidate from her province to be part of the Red Bull Amaphiko academy and was also part of the 15 young Social entrepreneurs in 2017 to be part of Ygap/spark international Accelerator programme. And in 2016 she was awarded with a heroes award for young person of the year and in 2017 she was awarded with the Youth in ICT Award.

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