Yusudi

Yusudi: Every young person has a unique talent, we unplug it for the world.

Nairobi, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

By creating an online/offline gamified life skills program, we combine learning via a website/mobile app with virtual coaching and real life activities. Our program provides youth with the right capabilities to create a successful career.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every young person was educated with a growth mindset and entrepreneurial attitude to take ownership of their professional success?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Youth unemployment in Kenya averages at 40%. In the whole of Africa, 10 to 12 million young people join the labor market every year and 50% of them aren’t able to find jobs or have to work informally. With an average population growth of 100%, this number will keep increasing. For individuals, this causes social exclusion, increased risk of poverty, propensity to crime and extremism. It creates a gap in sustainable development of the country.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Yusudi offers a web/mobile platform on which we deliver individual learning through reading, videos and reflection on topics such as: self-management, decision-making, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, networking, business communication and more. It is scalable and self-paced with higher effectiveness than in-class training. It is reinforced by interaction with virtual coaches that empower and guide students; it is also complemented by use of experiential learning tasks, recommended based on location and interests for every skill, e.g. attending a specific local networking event. Active learning has shown to enable knowledge internalization. This is cemented together in a game format to keep students involved and accountable.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

John has graduated but cannot find a job. He thought about starting an enterprise in Agriculture but he isn’t sure if that is the right decision considering that he lacks the needed knowledge and skills.. He hears about Yusudi and decides to sign up. Through the app, he gets online classes, a personal coach and practical tasks. Supported by his coach, John picks every next learning step for himself The coach is able to see the data of John’s learning journey and guide him through questions and advice on how to apply the knowledge in real life. After completion, John acquired knowledge and skills; he realized he has the needed resources to create a startup. He feels confident he can achieve success in business through continuous learning.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have studied initial demand for such a program through a survey of youth in Nairobi (200 responses), and through interviews with SMEs, corporations, universities and young people of different age/background. we are currently in the process of testing the content of the learning modules, offline, with youth groups through collaborations with Barclays and Red Cross accelerator programs. The Beta version of the program is expected to be released by mid-2016 and tested by 500 users acquired through partnerships with youth organizations, e.g. AIESEC, Rotaract, iHub and oth. We will iterate if necessary and release the full product by the end of 2016. Within 2017, we plan to acquire 4,000 users and test the product in 3 more cities of Kenya through partnerships with universities and County Councils. The year after, Yusudi will grow to 10,000 users serviced by 140 coaches in 5 cities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In the next five years, Yusudi will expand to at least three countries in Eastern Africa and achieve a stretch goal of 300,000 young people positively impacted. The program will be marketed and implemented directly by Yusudi and indirectly through collaboration with other youth organizations and educational institutions. We will also engage SMEs and Micro-enterprises to implement Yusudi’s program within their internship/induction programs to increase and optimize the process of new employees’ intake; and to ensure improvement of employees’ retention rate and productivity.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will charge premium users a monthly fee to achieve sustainability in the medium term, once economies of scale are achieved. We also plan to create revenue through selling online advertising space to companies that offer services beneficial to the development of our users. Finally, upon initial traction and creation of a solid users’ database, we will offer recruitment services and employee training programs to companies.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most skills programs are of specific length. This is not easily scalable and resource intensive. It means that slower learners aren’t able to master skills. There are also online platforms that enable self-paced learning and ability to pick specific skills. However, they demand a lot of self-discipline. Yusudi's program provides self-design/self-pacing of learning, external motivation and guidance by coaching, and practical skills application. Its online base makes it scalable; its cost-effectiveness makes it accessible; it allows flexibility of time needed to internalize and apply concept.
Team

Founding Story

Both founders, Nastia and Charlotte, have had a passion for education since childhood, and we realized that formal education does not satisfy the needs of 21st century societies. Now, being in our 20s, we are going through the process of self-discovery, and the challenges it implies. We find this time to be integral to personality forming, which becomes a platform for societal change. Youth have energy; they look for a purpose and place to apply it, but often do not know the steps to reach it. Trough research, trials and discussion we came up with an idea to combine best practices of online and offline learning in a program that we would love to use ourselves being young people.

Team

Founders Nastia: background in psychology, curriculum development, youth training,coaching and finance. Charlotte: background in management and strategy, talent management, marketing, PR, sales, and youth training/coaching; We are both working full time on this project. Current Board members: Sarah Richson - Global Director of HR - TechnoBrain Wim Vander Elst - Director - INTC Susane Kiragu - PhD in Education from Cambridge and CEO Children in Freedom Our next steps: Coaches: we need to recruit first part time and then full time coaches, this number will keep growing with amount of users; Developers: Android, web and back-end developer to ensure high quality user interface and back-end management; Content Developer: responsible for continuous development and improvement of modules content; Marketing Manager: responsible to ensure brand awareness and user growth; Customer Experience: ensures high customer satisfaction and impact review; Sales Manager: creates partnerships with organizations and institutions for program co-delivery
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Facebook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder of Yusudi

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Last year, whilst being a full time student I decided to organise an event to raise awareness and funds for the countries affected by the Ebola disease. I started with the ideation process, managed to put together a team of volunteers and within 2 months we organised a charity run with 100 people, in-kind sponsorship and raised more than $1500 dollars. It was a challenge because of the short time period, however it taught me the importance of empowerement and leadership of the team to achieve success. It also taught me how to be resilient and have a positive mindset. Finally, I understood the importance of a strong network to positively influence your ability to implement ideas.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Over the last two and a half months, since we arrived in Kenya, we have grown a community of around 300 students, governement officials and organisational leaders to truly understand the local reality and market needs.
Some of our main supporters and mentors are:
Anthony, Investment manager at IFC,
Martin Nielsen, CEO of Mdundo, a local music app company,
Jen Cottler COO of Spire, a youth training program,
Kris De Ridder, CEO of INTC, a talent management consultancy,
Chris Evans, CTO of Flypay a mobile payment application,
Grace Karanja, Country Director, International Youth Foundation,
our Board mentioned above.

We have a team of 5 volunteers that support us part time in research and are brand ambassadors.
We also get support from the iHUB, NaiLab, local tech working spaces and from the EdTech community.

We have ongoing partnerships with:
AIESEC: the largest youth leadership organisation;
Rotaract: the youth section of the Rotary organisation;
World Youth Parliament
ASPIRE Women Program
The Youth Senate