Kenya

About three weeks after first conceiving Eneza, gaining over a hundred teachers’ input, researching mobile phone technology until I understood every acronym, connecting with Kenyan entrepreneurs late into the night, contracting a team of 12 excellent teachers from all over Kenya to design the curriculum, meeting with Ministry officials and UNICEF leaders, I made a decision. Over my first meal of the day, a banana split at 5pm, I called up the top-ten business school where I was enrolled and told them I wanted to cancel my enrollment. When they asked me why, I responded, “I have an idea, and it can change the lives of half a billion children. It’s important.”

What convinced me to pursue Eneza was insight into the Kenyan educational technology market. Unlike most technology entrepreneurs, I am a teacher. Unlike most educational leaders, I believe in for-profit endeavors. Unlike many teachers, I am not afraid of using technology tools for students to learn. And unlike many start-up founders, I had lived in the market where we launched: rural, impoverished Africa. I knew I could lead Eneza because I combined teaching experience, management experience, business skills, technological understanding, and personal market experience—everything required to lead our company to improve the lives of the students that need it the most.

Running a good start-up means wholly devoting yourself to an idea, while ensuring that the stakeholders unequivocally value the idea. The idea must outlast you. And it has. My co-founder Kago took over Eneza last year. Since then it has grown to reach over 2.2 Million users across 3 main markets in Africa, and it is led by an entirely African team. I’m insanely proud of how far we’ve come.