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Ex-banker bets big on online directory of varsity courses in Kenya

The Gradstate website: www.gradstate.com

The Gradstate website: www.gradstate.com

For many young Kenyans, getting a well-paying job soon after completing college is the ultimate dream.

It is even more enticing if the job is in a more developed economy where things run in an orderly manner and life is perceived to be more enjoyable.

It was a different story for Alex Mureti, 30. After completing his degree in economics and finance, he landed an enviable job with an international bank in London.

For several years, he worked for the bank in London and South Africa.

However, his true passion was for entrepreneurship and last year, he decided to come back home and try out something to try to improve the lives of young people in Kenya.

COMPARE COST

The growth in internet penetration, driven by the spread of smartphones, led Mureti to thinking about setting up a digital platform.

Mureti and his business partner set up Gradstate Ltd, a company that, through an online directory (gradstate.com), provides prospective students with information on university and college courses in Kenya.

“We wanted to leverage on growth of the internet in the country to help young people shape their lives.

“It is always a hard decision for most students to pick a university course, mostly because such information is not readily available,” Mureti, who is the company’s MD, said.

From the website, a prospective student can sample different courses, compare different universities offering the same studies, and even compare the cost. Students are also guided on the career opportunities available for every course.

JOIN THE PLATFORM

“We simply get schools to sign up and we provide their information on our page. Users can compare courses across many universities in terms of duration, cost, and scope,” Mureti said.

To sign up for the service, an institution pays an average of Sh250,000 a year.

The fee varies according to the size of the institution, which has the option of paying additional fees to place adverts on the website or have some of their courses highlighted as “hot courses” on the homepage.

So far, the firm has signed up 15 universities including the University of Nairobi and St Paul’s University, Zetech College, and Riara University.

It is currently in talks with more than 10 institutions of higher learning to join the platform.

EXPANSION PLANS

Less than a year since it started, the company has already broken even and boasts a turnover of over Sh3 million.

Mureti sees an even brighter future, with expansion plans to reach out to institutions within and outside Nairobi in the next year.

“Currently, we are focused on Nairobi. We are working to increase the number of institutions that have signed up with us, while expanding our footprint outside Nairobi,” Mureti told Money.

He said the firm was in talks with potential investors, both locally and internationally.

“At least three investors have approached us with a view to partnering in the business. We are still weighing our options,” Mureti said.

Students can apply for courses online and do not have to pay anything to use the service.

-Nation

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