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How The Desire To Be Self-Reliant Led To A Successful Social Initiative

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At the age of eighteen [18], a gentleman in his second year at the University of Cape Coast [UCC] made a promise to himself to become self-reliant. He earnestly desired to make a living to fund his education and life on campus. The light bulb moment hit him after a conversation with Abigail, a class four pupil who scored fifty-three percent [53%] in her end of term exam.

In that conversation, Abigail attributed her poor performance to the theoretical approach her school teachers adopted in teaching difficult subjects like mathematics and science. Abigail also enumerated the lack of professional assistance during her studies at home; but in Eric’s mind, it was EUREKA!!

“What if I can provide a platform for young pupils like Abigail to achieve high academic laurels while providing a source of income for tutors who will be student employees from of the University of Cape Coast?”, Eric thought to himself.

Eric Vondee piloted the idea with Abigail after gaining permission from her parent. Abigail scored an excellent distinction mark of ninety-three [93] in her exams that term; this proved to Eric that the idea was viable.

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Founder, My Home Teacher - Eric Vondee

In 2015, the ‘My Home Teacher’ social entrepreneurship venture was born. Like every other entrepreneurial journey, Eric Vondee and his team faced many challenges.

He describes the ‘My Home Teacher’ journey as a hard ride but a fulfilling one. According to Eric Vondee, he kept the promise he made to himself on his 18th birthday. He has been successful at self-sponsoring his own education and life on campus while ensuring the business growth of ‘My Home Teacher’.

‘My Home Teacher’ is an educational startup designed to connect students with well-qualified tutors for home tutorial services. ‘My Home Teacher’ has received numerous accolades since its inception. The initiative won two awards; the Education Startup of the Year and Student Startup of the Year Awards at the 2017 Premium Bank Ghana Startup Awards.

The startup has improved the academics of many students especially in Accra and Cape Coast Metropolis. The award ceremony also saw ‘My Home Teacher’ being listed as part of 2017 Ghana Startup Club 100, a prestigious list that outlines the 100 Most Outstanding Startups in Ghana.

In this series, we are featuring student entrepreneurs on the University of Cape Coast campus to share their journey with the world.

We met with Eric Vondee to inquire how other young people can build their successful social initiative. Read excerpts from our conversation below:

Rachel: What inspired you to start ‘My Home Teacher’?

Eric: The high teacher to student ratio in classrooms especially Ghanaian schools bothered me a lot. I met Abigail when she was in class four and looked through her report and realized she scored fifty-three percent [53%]. Abigail attributed her poor performance to the theoretical approach her school teachers adopted in teaching difficult subjects like mathematics and science. This was the light-bulb moment for me. I thought of how I could help parents get private tutoring for their wards at home and help students make money while on campus. I tried the idea with Abigail after gaining permission from her parent. Abigail scored a high distinction mark of ninety-three [93] in her exams that term. This proved that my idea was feasible.

Rachel: What has been your greatest failure so far on this journey?

Eric: [Thinks for some seconds] Starting ‘My Home Teacher’ in 2015 was really challenging; I was a student and combining academics and business was stressful. You’re in a school where you have to make up the grades and also be doing very well with the business. What helped me through was the prioritization of my time. The other failure was low patronage of our service; parents weren’t confident in us because we were new, but as time went by, we gained reputation as a brand and patronage soared. The high patronage was also due to the numerous awards I have received personally and awards ‘My Home Teacher’ has received.

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Eric Vondee

Rachel: Where do you see ‘My Home Teacher’ in the next 10 years?

Eric: Parents would want the best for their wards; they would go all miles to provide the best for their children. ‘My Home Teacher’ is here to bridge the gap between the teacher-student ratio. We are also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal [SDGs] 4 which is about quality education. In the next five-ten years, we seek to improve the lives of students academically; we also vision to reach over 55,000 African students. Thereby growing ‘My Home Teacher’ to other African countries. I want to be a full-time entrepreneur in future and pursue ‘My Home Teacher’ till eternity.

Rachel: What has been your proudest moment since you began ‘My Home Teacher’?

Eric: Since I started ‘My Home Teacher’, we have received several awards, personally and as an initiative. One of my proudest moment will be in March 2017 when Coca Cola brought up an initiative to award 60 young Achievers in Ghana. I was part of the list of young achievers making great impact in Ghana. It was a great moment for me.

Rachel: What advice would you give any young person who wants to begin their social initiative?

Eric: [Video]

 

 

 

'Growth Inspired' is an article series by Rachel Hormeku highlighting the achievements of successful social and business student entrepreneurs on the University of Cape Coast campus. If you know any student entrepreneur you would like us to feature, send me an email via rachelhormeku at [@] gmail dot [.] com


Report and Photos By Rachel Hormeku