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ElZtouna: an e-learning platform in Upper Egypt, pairing teachers with students

Abdelrahman Ezzat. Credits: Outreach Egypt Consultancy for Development

ElZtouna’s services have come in handy during the pandemic as it gives students access to an educational platform, serving as an alternative model for traditional higher education.

Abdelrahman Ezzat, hailing from Asyut City, joined the Orange Corners Upper Egypt’s first cycle in March 2021. He had 5 years of working experience at multinational companies, especially at the sales and marketing department. He pursued a postgraduate certificate in business and marketing in Cairo after a Bachelor’s in microbiological sciences and immunology. He found out during his studies that the educational market was, like everything else nowadays, impacted by digital technologies. He came up with the idea of creating his own educational platform to support student learning. ElZtouna offers tutoring and mentoring to support high school and universities students in their studies. OCHQ asked Abdelrahman about his lesson learned from starting a start-up from scratch.

Logo of elZtouna

Why did you choose the name ElZtouna?

“elZtouna” in Arabic litterly means “The Olive”. It is used in colloquial Egyptian Arabic conversations to describe anything that is brief or summarised. One of the main issues of an online learning platform is being able to keep up with long and detailed courses. These long hours in class discourage students, especially young ones in high school, to complete or even start any online course. So, this is why we brought “elZtouna” to life, showing that online classes can actually be engaging, interesting and to the point. The name resonates perfectly with our audience.”

To what extent did the programme further enhance your business?

“The Orange Corners programme helped us in several different ways; managing our finances, setting up our digital marketing strategies and increasing our market share. The trainings and workshops not only further enhanced our personal competencies, but also our team-working skills.”

Quick overview of ElZtouna’s platform

Your KPIs (Key performance indicators) involve customers’s input and their satisfaction of your product and services.

How does your start-up impact its direct surroundings/economy/employment?

“Elztouna’s services have come in handy during the pandemic as it gives students access to an educational platform, serving as alternative for the traditional way of higher education. We partner with public schools and universities to offer students a free and online learning opportunity.”

The Orange Corners programme helped us in many different ways; managing our finances, setting up our digital marketing strategies and increasing our market share. The trainings and workshops also enhanced our personal and our organisation’s team-working skills.

What are in your opinion ElZtouna’s strengths in comparison to other start-ups?

“Our strengths are that we offer, among others, interactive videos, chatting tools to directly communicate with our lecturer and online quizzes to help students evaluate their performance in a non-exam assessment setting. Our high quality videos, certification and tailored courses for our students, make it easier for our students to practice and know what to expect for exams, in order to prepare them in the best way possible. We have teacher to improve one’s language skills in French, Arabic and business English. We offer different online payment methods, provide 24-hours technical support and promote our teachers to market their services.”

Build a strong team together different perspectives and have more ideas.

Dr. Mohamed Saleh is French teacher at ElZtouna.

Which struggles did you encounter while launching your own business and how did you overcome it?

“We faced many different challenges from start to finish: finding high-quality teachers; building an efficient marketing strategy for our platform; convincing educational institutions and instructors to partner with us; producing creative and interactive educational content and managing our costs. We have overcome these challenges by enhancing our sales and marketing team. We also use our own cameras to minimise cost of video production. We are trying to do the best we can with the things and support we have around us.”

Cooperate with stakeholders, it will help you to move forward.

Msu. Gamal is a French teacher at Elztouna

Where do you hope to see ElZtouna in comparison to current accomplishments?

“Currently, we are working together with sixteen teachers, 3 schools and 1 university. Our aim for the next five years is to work together with 3 universities and 25 schools and to become one of the top learning management systems (LSMS) in Egypt.”

Abdelrahman Ezzat. Credits: Outreach Egypt Consultancy for Development

Could you give other aspiring entrepreneurs advice for their own business (ideas)?

My ten tips for future entrepreneurs are as follows:
1. Analyse your idea. Ask yourself if there is a need for the product or service you provide on the market. Or do you just want to start your own business for the sake of it?
2. You don’t need to excel if you are just starting.
3. Before investing in your project, test your prototype first.
4. Accept your mistakes, learn from them and avoid them in the future.
5. Build a strong team to gather different perspectives and have more ideas.
6. Do a market research and develop marketing strategies as these are you success indicators.
7. Your KPIs (Key performance indicators) involve customers’s input and their satisfaction of your product and services. Integrate them in your working method.
8. Analyse your competition to have a competitive advantage compared to your market rivals.
9. Cooperate with stakeholders, it will help you to move forward.
10. Think about the following 2 questions: where to play? ( market analysis) and how to win? (customer analysis)

We are working together with sixteen teachers, 3 schools and 1 university. Our 5-year goal is to work together with three universities and 25 schools.

Abdelrahman Ezzat on Youtube.

Learn more about ElZtouna on their socials!

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