Business Blitz: Zomila
The third Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa class recently graduated from the prestigious programme. Powered by Goggle Africa, the programme helps tech-based start-ups with training in machine learning technologies.
One of these start-ups is the South African based Zomila which is an app that provides free online career guidance for students looking to enter university with additional information on funding opportunities.
The app was the brainchild of co-CEOs Jasanth Moodley and Cara Wilby. While studying as Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering students, Moodley and Wilby were inspired to assist the number of students dropping out and not understanding their courses of study.
Zomila was conceptualised at a competition that challenged entrants to solve issues of education in South Africa. As the victors, Moodley and Wilby have now focused on improving the Zomila app and introducing more features to the experience.
What sparked your particular interest in starting a business like Zomila?
JM: During our four years of studies the fees must fall movement was the centre of attention, this really highlighted the issues that our colleagues and some of our closest friends faced with access to funding via education.
Together with the issue of not being completely aware of what we are studying even though the resources are readily available.
What skills would you say are necessary for running a business like Zomila?
JM: When we started it’s not like we had the exact skills required. We were still engineering students in university. I would say it’s personality traits.
Why did you pick the name Zomila for the business?
CW: Zomila is a rough interpretation of they will grow. We wanted to keep a maternal feel. It encompasses the idea of having a guide that will help in making the right decisions and finding the funding that suits you.
That’s what we are trying to embody in the idea of democratising education and providing access to the resources you need to pursue your dreams.
Where there any struggles you faced, not only in conceptualising the business but running it as well?
CW: We have an amazing start-up ecosystem that we have been able to tap into. There are so many amazing entrepreneurs and amazing network of resources in Cape Town that has definitely helped us get to where we are now.
The corporate network is sort of very exclusive and has been difficult to persuade to move into a digital revolution and seeing things from a student perspective.”