A 27 year old Nigerian systems engineer has won UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering for his tutoring app, Tuteria.
Godwin Benson designed the app to link students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budgets. Users find the skill they want to learn on the app on their phone, set their budget, and wait to be connected to the nearest tutor.
Mr. Benson edged out 16 participants at a ceremony in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to clinch the $32,000 prize money. Before he was voted by Africa price judges and a live audience for the most promising engineering innovation, the four finalists had a final showdown and delivered presentations.
“I am humbled and grateful to the Academy for the training and support. It’s such a vote of confidence to be chosen out of sixteen such incredible businesses.” Benson said at the awarding ceremony.
Students and tutors are toughly vetted before been allowed to use the platform. Skills on offer on the app includes learning to play piano, sew clothes, and learn a new language. Academic subjects for all ages are also covered.
The platform has a rating system, and student’s book lessons using an upfront payment system. Tutors are paid once the lessons have been confirmed, and Tuteria takes 15 to 30 per cent commission for each paid lesson.
Benson faced stiff competition from the three runners up who received $10,000 each.
Andre Nel from South Africa, designed an app that reduces energy used to heat water by 90 per cent while Hindu Nabulumba from Uganda developed Yaaka Digital Learning Network, which teachers and students can use to share academic knowledge and materials.
Kelvin Gacheru from Kenya on his part, developed, Mobi-Water System, which allows water tank users to monitor and control the water in their tanks remotely using a mobile phone. Users as a result save more than 30 percent of their water.
The sixteen shortlisted Africa prize entrants, from eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, received six months of training and mentoring during which they learned to develop business plans and market their innovations.
The group also received coaching on communicating effectively, focusing on customers and approaching investors’ with confidence
According to Benson, he developed the app based on his experience as a young tutor. He says he plans to use the prize money to widen Tuteria's offering "even beyond Nigeria" and to include online classes and video courses as well.
The African Prize for Engineering was launched in 2014 by the Royal Academy of Engineering, to stimulate, celebrate and reward engineers in Sub-Saharan Africa who develop innovations to solve challenges in their communities.