Doing Good and Doing Well: The Adesua Online Story
Ebenezer Addo Tenkorang is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar who completed Ashesi University in 2017. Driven by the desire to make education accessible and affordable through the use of technology, he co-founded EdTech start-up Adesua Online in 2018 with fellow Ashesi graduates, Lawrence Adjei, Francis Kornu, and Eric Gbekor.
The Adesua Online Initiative is a social enterprise that makes high school education free and accessible using technology. Their first breakthrough is www.adesuaonline.net, an independent online learning portal for intellectually passionate senior high school students.
Ebenezer’s path to success was not without hitches. He first pitched his business idea at Ashesi University but was unsuccessful. This was a big blow to Ebenezer and his team.
“We were unsuccessful because our idea wasn’t fully formed. We however had another opportunity to pitch at Sciences Po, where my partner was studying. They took a chance on us and gave us funding because they believed in our idea.”
The funding from Sciences Po was the beginning of a new chapter of successful pitches and great opportunities for the Adesua Online team. After receiving seed funding of $5000 from Sciences Po, the Adesua Online team was given the opportunity to enrol in the Mastercard Foundation-funded Ashesi Venture Incubator, where they were able to successfully pitch for funding of $5000. A few months before exiting the Ashesi Venture Incubator, the Adesua Online team received the wonderful news that they had been awarded an additional $10,000 in funding from Sciences Po, who was impressed with the success they had chalked so far.
Adesua Online’s operations began in Accra but quickly spread to other regions of Ghana. Increasing demand for Adesua Online’s services led to an expansion to other West African countries, most notably, Nigeria, which is currently its biggest market.
“The positive feedback from students keeps me motivated. I remember a user telling me that he finally understood 3 set problems ten years after high school simply by watching Adesua Online’s tutorial videos.”
Adesua Online has been providing free tutorials for over 40,000 high schools students, predominantly from Ghana and Nigeria. The online platform currently has 3000 registered users. Adesua Online features educational content in the form of tutorial videos, slides, audios etc. from skilled and passionate teachers and volunteers, (Mainly alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program). Courses available on the portal include the required high school courses and extra-curricular courses designed to build digital literacy. With this portal, high school students are able to learn anywhere, anytime and at their own pace for free.
Adesua Online has 3 main services:
- Adesua Online – the online learning platform
- Adesua Live – a virtual version of after school classes which involves bringing in teachers to teach students online
- Adesua Offline – a service aimed at teaching students in deprived and remote communities without access to the internet. This is mainly done through wireless access point devices that enable these students to access content offline.
Adesua Online runs a hybrid business model which focuses on doing good and doing well. They provide a paid subscription service for some of their videos which serves to cover tuition costs for students who cannot pay for their Adesua Live service.
“I believe education plays an instrumental role in development. People miss out on quality education because of money or lack of infrastructure. This informed the decision to select students from only category A schools. So those who miss out on category A education due to lack of capacity are still able to access high-quality education.”
Adesua Online prides itself in their meticulous teacher selection process that ensures teaching is of the highest quality. Teachers are selected from category A schools and recommendations from students, based on a poll that asks students to name their favourite teachers. The Adesua Online team is looking to operate a shared revenue model where profit is shared 50/50 for online content. They however aim to keep offline content free for charity purposes.
“I attribute [our] success to [the] team. We are four friends and have known each other for 4 years. From playing football to groomsmen etc. We share a common passion for decentralising education and making it accessible to everyone with or without money. None of us receive a salary for the work we do.”
Ebenezer has a deep appreciation for his team and their passion towards reaching their common goal. He has ambitious plans for the next five years, which include 40,000 registered users across Africa on the Adesua Online platform.
“[Mastercard Foundation] is like my father. The organisation paid my fees and invested in my business. I just want to thank the Foundation for believing in me and my dreams.”