Education Craftsman: Online Marketplace Connects Nigerians with Continuing Education
WHAT IT IS Founded in Lagos, Nigeria, Fora.co provides working professionals in Nigeria with quality online continuing education. As the first consumer platform of its kind in Nigeria, professionals have access to online educational programs
WHAT IT IS
Founded in Lagos, Nigeria, Fora.co provides working professionals in Nigeria with quality online continuing education. As the first consumer platform of its kind in Nigeria, professionals have access to online educational programs that are geared towards helping them either double or triple their income. Fora.co also provides classroom style meet up locations where professionals can pursue advancement and development by receiving help from educators or their peers. The cost of the online courses range from $150 to $1,000 USD. Fora.co offers financial aid in the form of loans to help professionals afford their courses.
HOW IT STARTED
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder and CEO of Fora.co, developed the idea over time after noticing demand from Nigerians for online education with first company, Bookneto. Bookneto, is an online platform that works with professors seeking to teach outside of the university construct. Aboyeji noticed that several Nigerian students were enrolling in Bookneto’s courses. After moving back to Nigeria, he saw that ex-patriates and re-patriates were moving back into the country to work. He realized then that local professionals were having trouble keeping and competing for jobs. He created Fora.co, as a solution to keep Nigerian professionals competitive in the ever-evolving job market.
WHY IT’S TAKING OFF
Fora.co, provides access to quality continuing education to working professionals without the burden of leaving their families and moving abroad to advance their skill set. Currently, students have access to classes within the University of California system. Professional certifications are their best-selling classes due to the short length of the courses. Fora.co’s most popular courses are in the areas of banking, finance, oil and gas and business. What makes their program unique is the access to education financing. Most professionals in Nigeria do not have access to the financing that will help afford professional advancement courses.
Fora.co is preparing to advance into pre-degree programs and invest in local content. The company is currently working on a deal with one of Nigeria’s top graduate schools to make that dream a reality. Fora.co is also working to help students have access to courses from the best schools in the United States such as Columbia University, Howard University, New York University (NYU), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is the company’s goal to provide financial aid for professionals in Nigeria to take these courses.
Fora.co is also working on Forapod, an offline server that allows students to access curated online educational courses that are downloaded for their use. This is a solution dependent on expensive bandwidth and internet access, a common problem for remote schools in Nigeria. In September 2014, Fora.co plans to partner with larger organizations to launch their teacher-training initiative. An initiative which the business believes will create a multiplying effect of continuing and current education across Nigeria by training teachers through technology.
As a Nigerian, Aboyeji’s biggest consideration was where he could make his next big company. He states that: “There are more opportunities for growth and impact for Fora.co in Nigeria.”