Entre Chat with Farah Mulji


Co-Founder, Educartis, Angola

As told to Anahita Masters

Tell us a little about Educartis and how the platform works

Educartis is an edu-tech platform that connects learners or prospective students, with educational course providers, currently in Angola and Kenya. It operates like an online classifieds platform where institutes offering courses in tertiary and continuing education can connect with students looking to upgrade their skills. We saw from feedback from some of the largest job portals across Africa, that prospective learners often aren’t able to find the training they want/need. Since the technology revolution has leapfrogged in Africa, it wasthe best medium to use to reach out and make an impact. Educartis is a technology platform that can be used by learners to efficiently and effectively search for the right course and enrol for them, be it a bachelors’ degrees, online course, skill certification etc. On the education providers’ side, it’s is a web-based application that helps them reach out to a wide-based audience, without investing in technology themselves.

How did you get involved with the other co-founders and contribute to Educartis’ growth?

I joined Educartis as a late co-founder in December 2016 after moving to Angola with my husband and then eighteen-month-old daughter. Interestingly, I too stumbled upon a very raw version of the platform in search of a course, which led me to meet with the then founders. They needed someone to develop the platform further, build a team and help with raising funds; a challenge that I was ready for after my previous experience in management consulting. The last year or so has been like raising two infants; my daughter and Educartis. From redefining the business model, to strengthening the bench to just raising our first round of funding, it’s been a non-stop journey.

As a woman co-founder of a technology start-up, would you say, “it’s a man’s world out there”?

Unfortunately, yes. At least in the technology world, I do feel that the space is male dominated. This became very apparent to me through the entire fund-raising process for Educartis, where I’ve sat through over 50 meetings across the table from serial entrepreneurs, all male, trying to build a convincing case for my start up. It does make you feel at times, like a miniscule minority.

Being based in Angola, I also see the need for more women entrepreneur support groups and networks to share experiences and guide one another. While there are a few online networks that I’m a part of, there’s nothing that can compare with meeting someone in your same situation, to share thoughts and challenges.

You mentioned you’re a mother of a two-year old. How do you manage the equally challenging balance of home and work?

It’s not easy; and I’ve learnt along the way. My support system in terms of family, is in Canada and my husband and I had our daughter soon after we moved to Angola. Added to that, my husband and I are both entrepreneurs with demanding schedules and travel. I’ve learnt to take the support of our incredible nanny and to keep a few hours in the day aside, to spend quality time with my baby. I’ve also had the odd conference I’ve had to attend with baby and nanny in tow, so I could continue feeding. Last but not the least, I’m also fortunate enough to have some incredibly supportive co-founders, and of course my husband, who are on the same page as me when it comes to balancing work and life’s priorities. It’s not the easiest of tasks, physically or emotionally, but I’ve managed to push the envelope so far, and plan to continue to do so!

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