Nepalese society is abundant with conservative thinking. To be called independent and employment, you have be to a government officer! To be a perfect son, daughter, father, mother, husband, wife, bride, groom and so on you have to be a government officer! Though among these traditional thinking, there are very few people who risk themselves to challenge the societies. Among that very few, Mr. BiJay Sharma, a graduate level student at Tri- Chandra College, started his own company not only to make money but also to help the students learn in a better way. He along with Ashes Timsina, graduate from Finland with an IT background is involved at IOM, a premier medical institution of Nepal established an academia venture: Whpedia. The duo work as a part time teachers as well. Here is short conversation with Mr. BIjay Sharma, founder of the company.
- How did you came with the idea of Whpedia?
When I was pursuing graduate level study, I did some tutoring to generate some pocket money. Others part time jobs was tough for me as I was a student myself and could not do give enough time to the job. But these tutoring jobs was hard to find. I had to visit several places to get tutoring. My others friends, too wanted to do some jobs specifically tutoring. But they too have wander several places. So I was not only the one who was interested in tutoring but there were lots of students and teachers interested in tutoring as a part time job.
It made us realize it was not just my problem but others too. The parents, too were unable to get the good teachers for their children. As a solution to the teachers and parents problem we came with Whpedia application.
Though I have been working as a tutor for long time, I had difficulties building website for Whpedia where Ashes helped me the utmost as he was from IT background. As a result it made us a perfect combination- tutors and technology.
- Why Whpedia?
Teachers have the potential to unlock the potential of the students. Through tutoring the students can enhance their academic performance as they are able to express themselves to the tutors in a better way than those teachers in the classroom. Teachers in the classroom are not able to give attention to all the students as a result those students who feel shy are not able to get proper educational care. One objective is making students comfortable with the teachers. We did not come with this startup of making money but to help shape the children life in a better way. Through the tuitions of Whpedia, the students can utilize the time and expand their leaning.
We reduce the burden of the parents. At the present time, parents are busy in their offices and rarely get time to look after their children studies. Though some of the students are able to utilize the time in proper way despite the absence of the parents, most of the students not only waste their time but get stuck in unimaginable bad activities like smoking and drugs which ruin their entire life. Students are like clay which can be molded in the desired shape.
- How do you plan to expand the business in the future?
Though we did not expected to expand our service soon, we have got service demand from Pokhara and Biratnager which have propelled us to think about the expansion as soon as possible. As a result we have already planned about going online so that we can expand our business service territory throughout Nepal. We are now adding to the data about the mentor’s qualifications which we will incorporate in our website. This will help the students to choose their teachers themselves. Our main objective is to provide students right tutors as per their need.
We plan to provide part time job opportunities to graduate or post graduate level students who are potential mentors or teachers so that they can share their knowledge. Also, other jobs reduce focus on studies, but sharing education through tutoring will help them gain more knowledge and enhance their focus.
Furthermore, Whpedia plans to add volunteer teachers on our platform who can teach extra classes in government schools where students do not get the quality education.
Along with that, we are working to ensure that the teachers provided by our platform are well behaved and on time. We will provide teachers the orientation on working with students and support them in following the basic principle of being a teacher.
Similarly, in the near future we are trying to provide tuitions in extracurricular activities like singing and dancing as well.
- To whom do you sell the services?
Whpedia helps students and teachers to come together on the same platform with complete details. We target students from school to post graduate levels. It sells services as products. Our main customers and service takers are students, teachers, and parents. Teachers are mostly students who work as part time teachers and use their free time to generate some pocket money. Parents also need teachers who can help their children uplift their academic performance. So we help the parents connect with experienced teachers charging some amount of money to the teachers. Initially, we used to connect through family and friend circles.
- What are the challenges you have faced so far?
First and foremost, the biggest challenge is the payment of the fees. Some of the parents are immigrants and it becomes tough for them to pay the fee on time because of their lower economic status. Along with that, we are also face problem during the collection of the fees. We have to meet the parents personally to get the fees and it consumes a lot of time.
Secondly, the right skills needed to teach the students. Though some tutors have strong academic background, they feel difficulty in making the students understand the lesson.
Moreover, we have problems regarding the connection as we collect the data manually. It takes a bit time to connect the teachers with the student’s manually. However, now as we planning to go online, we are expecting to reduce if not eradicate the problem.But now, we have launched our website to help the teachers as well as the parents connect in easy way and less time. New teachers will be registering on the website by sending their CVs.
Furthermore, teachers become a bit unseat to pay the fees for our services. At the beginning, we charge 15% of the tuition fees. During the initial phases, we have provide them resources like board, markers, and so on as well as training. We have hired some IT professionals to make websites which a bit expensive. So we raise money to sustain ourselves. It’s also for the expansion of the company in the near future.
- What is the role of Yunus Centre in your journey?
Though the journey of Whpedia is short, because of Yunus Centre in a very short period of time, we have been able gain national level exposure, which is immense achievement for puerile company. Simultaneously, we got mentoring and training from experienced professionals which broadened our thinking to expand and sustain our business. Apart from that we got connected with investors who are willing to invest in our startup company.
Furthermore, we got some monetary aid as a prize which was a great. We will use that money to operate our company in efficient way- trading online, buying support system such as markers, dusters, boards, and develop our application in a more efficient way.