A startup evangelist building mobile-friendly education resources

Finalist category: Youth Award 2014

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Finalist, 2014

Christopher Pruijsen is a former president of the Oxford Entrepreneurs, an advisor to the Kairos Society non-profit community of young innovators, and co-founder of the innovation programmes Founderbus UK, Middle East and Africa (formerly StartupBus Africa).

He is an ambassador for Bright Mentors and Founders4Schools in London. In his previous role as New Business Development Manager at the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) he organised the Startup Career Launchpad (April 2013, London) which counted over 400 attendees and 75 speakers over two days.

He has been recognised as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Startup Leadership Program, Kairos Society and Global Economic Symposium, and as one of the “100 Innovators” at the Open Innovations Forum in Moscow.

Christopher is co-founder and CEO of mobile learning enterprise Sterio.me, which he started on StartupBus Africa in 2013. He has negotiated partnerships with the UN Habitat, CYFI, Vodacom Foundation, Ministry of Education Lesotho, Lesotho Teacher Union and many others in fulfilling the Sterio.me mission of making quality education accessible to all, regardless of access to the internet.

The project itself is use for technology for social good – a mobile learning platform making use of interactive SMS and pre-recorded voice lessons. On the ‘teacher’ side it is a virtual classroom and content management system which enables the teacher to designate which homework lessons the student has to complete each day, and monitors their performance on the lessons. On the student side no internet or smartphone is required, only a GSM connection and a basic phone.

Sterio.me has developed a technology which enables people to access educational content via any type of phone, without requiring access to a smartphone or an internet connection. It therefore enables people with lower economic resources, and those in areas with bad coverage, to learn. Voice learning, as opposed to text-based resources, has the further potential to reach those suffering illiteracy.

There are no other technologies on the market that enable learning in this way, and although currently the main application of the technology is being explored in Sub-Saharan Africa, this can have worldwide application. Sterio.me has been honoured as Finalists in the Harvard Africa Business, MIT Africa Innovate and Mobile World Congress “4YFN” competitions, and named by Fast Company as #6 in the list of “10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa” for 2014.

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