TechInAfrica – An entrepreneur, Audrey Cheng started a business in education by establishing a tech school named Moringa School. At the time she started the business, media had been highlighting about fake education institutions were it almost gave her a false start.
Cheng built the company in January 2015. When she first established the School, she only had four students to start with. However, as years passed, she currently has more than 600 students who have studied in her tech school.
Before running the company, Cheng worked for Savannah Fund, a venture capital firm investing in Africa’s technology companies. The firm was based in Nairobi and Cheng was running second accelerator class at Savannah Fund.
She helped to nurture growing companies, where later gave her an understanding of how hard it was to find high-quality tech employees. During her work helping those growing companies to find candidates, she was also running research on university courses.
Cheng found that there was a gap in education, especially in Computer Science at universities. Most of the curricula were merely theories and outdated, thus, could not help students to prepare for the workforce. Therefore, the idea of establishing Moringa School in Kenya was born.
“Students struggle to find jobs, and in Kenya, it takes an average of five years for a university graduate to get a full-time job,” Cheng says. “On the other hand, employers cannot find the skills they need. I realized that if we talk about building the ecosystems, we need to build skills first. So that’s how we started Moringa.”
The first class started with four students but it has rapidly grown as it has already over 600 students to study there. With its current 55 employees, the company is not only providing tech learning for students but also providing them job placements. Moringa School has a 95% job placement rate and has provided tech talents for the big companies in Kenya.
Moringa School was given an honored award as the Fast Company by business media brand. By being honored as the Fast Company, Moringa School determined as the world’s most innovative company. Not only that, but it was also a runner-up in the 2018 Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education.
Despite the success story, Cheng said she also has faced some challenges, “When we take an opportunity, we have to ask: is it in line with our strategy and how we would like to grow? Is it distracting? Even if a proposition involves a lot of money, if it’s distracting, we have to say no,” she comments.
“The challenge right now is to ensure the team is aligned on the decisions and opportunities we have to make good long-term decisions for the company,” Cheng says.
However, she has solutions to address the challenges, including forming a strong communication between the team.
“Ultimately our frontline team members are the ones who are implementing, so we need them to be excited and to push our strategy.”