According to UNICEF, all children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, have the right to quality education. However, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. About 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5 -14 years are not in school. For those who are actually in school, the schools are overcrowded, dilapidated, and ill-equipped, teachers are unpaid or underpaid, and the entire education system needs a reboot.
Today, we are spotlighting Job Oyebisi, a tech-entrepreneur with a passion to use mobile technology to solve global challenges affecting billions in emerging economies. Oyebisi is the founder of StanLab, an innovative educational technology company that has built a world class 3D virtual laboratory to enable remote STEM learning and assessment for secondary school students in rural Nigeria. The platform enables students to do the same basic experiments that they would in a physical laboratory. Oyebisi was a participant in the British Council Enterprise Business Acceleration Bootcamp programme and winner of the ‘Ideas Change Lives” global innovative competition.
The inspiration behind StanLab
Oyebisi attended a public secondary school in Nigeria where he did not have the opportunity to do practical experiments because the laboratories were not fit for purpose. This made learning science very difficult as he had to imagine most of the concepts. However, this also made him take the initiative to study on his own.
Eventually, he got into university and participated in a competition by Microsoft, which challenged students to create solutions to ‘glocal problems in a local context’. He didn't want the next generation to go through the same challenges he had experienced in secondary school, so he came up with a way to create opportunities for children to access world-class education. He asked himself how he could build a world-class online laboratory, that everyone no matter where they are in the world - whether in rural or urban areas, could access it. He made it his mission to bring this to life and this led to the birth of StanLab.
Business lessons from an entrepreneur
“Building a company is not a solo effort. You need smart people to come along on the journey with you and help you build”, says Oyebisi. He believes that having a great and passionate team helps to provide varied insights into different problems that only one individual may not have been able to think about.
Oyebisi also tells us that in order to grow and scale his business in his local ecosystem, he needs partnerships with like-minded peers within the ecosystem. The business initially started as a passion and has grown to become something much bigger. In order to scale and grow, Oyesibi found that he needed to partner with larger organisations. He has been trying to work with the Nigerian government for a while, in an effort to make the solution available on a larger scale, however there has been no interest on their end, even though most of the students that attend the government institutions are the ones who lack access to basic laboratory services.
COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of edtech solutions and StanLab was not left out as the company has gained more customers within the last 12 months. With the team having to work from home due to lockdown, they have had to spend additional money to make sure employees can deliver quality work output without losing access to basic services in their homes. This has been tough to navigate but hasn’t deterred the innovators.
StanLab wants a world where secondary school students in rural Nigeria can get access to the same kind of laboratory experience and quality STEM education that children in more developed countries have access to. Their mission is to leverage technology to provide access to quality education no matter the background. StanLab believes that access to basic education and the internet should not be a privilege but a human right and are determined to push the boundaries of access to quality STEM education for all..
StanLab was a part of the Afritech Innovation Prize. They have been provided with access to international lawyers and highly requested tech credits.
Connect with Job Oyebisi and StanLab via Twitter.