Nigeria’s Ustacky Getting Africans Career Market-Ready With Tech-Focused Digital Micro-Degrees

September 6, 2021
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Nigerian ed-tech startup Ustacky is teaching Africans industry-relevant IT skills and providing them with micro-degrees at an affordable price to make them job-ready. 

Launched in 2019, Ustacky delivers training in programming through its website and mobile app using high-quality instructor-led video courses taught by seasoned instructors.

These courses are bundled together to form different micro-degrees, which also contain quizzes, coding assessments, discussion forums, mentorship, career guides, resume reviews, certificates and even job opportunities.

The idea of making access to tech education easy for Africans was something co-founders Ilyas Muyiwa and Teslim Sulaiman had been interested in for a long time.

“We started doing things that would eventually lead to Ustacky over a decade ago,” Muyiwa told Disrupt Africa. “We have organised physical training programmes, created online courses with thousands of students, and mentored students, among other things.”

After using several means, both online and offline, the pair discovered there was no platform providing easy access to quality tech education in Africa at an affordable price.

“We saw that many of the existing solutions, which are now our competition, were either using poor training approaches or learning materials, not flexible enough for students, not interactive enough, very expensive, or a combination of all these problems. This is why we decided to create Ustacky in order to solve these problems efficiently and affordably,” said Muyiwa.

Bootstrapped until recently, when it was accepted into the ASIP Accelerator powered by Startupbootcamp AfriTech, which provides small amounts of funding as well as mentorship, Ustacky is on the lookout for investors that can help it scale more quickly by getting more corporate and government customers. Nonetheless, uptake so far has been solid.

“Since officially launching to the public in January of 2021, we now have about 4,000 registered users, and over 2,600 subscriptions to our micro-degrees,” Muyiwa said. “We also got a partnership with Wennovation Hub, Data Science Nigeria, and more recently Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, to train 20,000 Lagos residents. In the next few months, these numbers will increase drastically.”

Currently operating only in Nigeria, with a few students from Ghana and Kenya, Ustacky hopes to expand to other African countries soon. Muyiwa identified South Africa and Morocco as key targets, and said early revenue numbers are strong.

“We make money from purchases of or subscriptions to our micro-degrees, and so far we’ve been making revenue, which is good for a startup that launched just a few months ago,” he said.

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