"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," Nelson Mandela once said.
With over nine years of experience in the education sector, Mustafa Abd Ellatif is wielding this weapon with the help of technology. As the Co-Founder and CEO of EYouth, he has impacted the lives of over 1.8 million students. His journey started with an MBA from ASST in Egypt, leading to a Business Entrepreneurship Bachelor's from the University of Connecticut, and an Electrical & Communications Engineering Bachelor's from Assiut University, uniquely equipping him with the skills to create educational solutions for everyone.
Mustafa Abd Ellatif, Founder and CEO of EYouth
Q: Can you tell us about your motivation for starting EYouth and how your personal experiences influenced this decision?
A: Absolutely. My journey with EYouth began with a personal aspiration and a shared struggle. Having dreamt of studying abroad myself, I was confronted with the financial reality that higher education can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for those without access to scholarships. As I neared the time for college applications, I realised that many individuals faced this same challenge, and that's when I was inspired to create EYouth. My own experience of overcoming economic hurdles through travel fueled my motivation to help others do the same by providing affordable education opportunities.
Q: What problem is EYouth addressing?
A: EYouth emerged as a response to a critical issue in education – the lack of accessible and affordable learning opportunities. In many parts of the world, including small cities, financial constraints and inadequate access to quality education create barriers to personal and economic growth. Furthermore, the inability to travel for specialised education is a common challenge. We identified the need for a platform that would democratise education, enabling people to learn what they want, when they want, and where they want.
Q: How does EYouth effectively connect community stakeholders to provide programmes to local people?
A: EYouth's success lies in its ability to forge partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders. We collaborate closely with governments, local universities, and international organisations to create a holistic ecosystem that supports learners. Our approach involves customising programmes based on the needs of different countries and regions. By offering content in multiple languages – including Arabic, English, and French – we ensure that our programmes cater to diverse backgrounds. Additionally, our commitment to quality education is underlined by our practice of accrediting content from reputable international institutions.
Q: How does EYouth obtain accreditation for its programmes, and could you mention some of the partner organisations involved?
A: Accreditation is a crucial aspect of our commitment to delivering high-quality education. We collaborate with universities, industry leaders, and UN agencies to gain accreditation for our programmes. For instance, our partnership with USAID, Educational International Development Organisations, and Global Skills Development Council has enabled us to achieve recognition for our efforts. This recognition not only validates the quality of our programmes but also facilitates our mission to provide meaningful education to as many people as possible.
Q: How was your first partnership established and how did it lead to subsequent partnerships?
A: Our first partnership was a turning point for EYouth. We connected with USAID in Egypt, which believed in our mission and provided us with our initial funding of $50,000. This partnership proved the effectiveness of our approach and laid the foundation for further collaborations. As we demonstrated tangible outcomes and success through our programmes, we gained the confidence of other organisations and partners. This initial partnership acted as a catalyst, paving the way for subsequent collaborations that expanded our reach and impact.
Q: How does EYouth generate revenue and what is your pricing strategy?
A: EYouth operates with a dual revenue model that combines both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) approaches. On the B2C side, individuals can visit our platform, select the programmes they're interested in, and pay for those programmes. This approach allows us to make our programmes accessible to anyone who wants to improve their skills. On the B2B side, we collaborate with government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and private companies to offer our programmes to a wider audience. Our pricing strategy is designed to strike a balance between affordability for individuals and sustainability for our operations.
Q: How does EYouth overcome challenges like limited Internet access and infrastructure to provide education?
A: Acknowledging the diverse challenges our users face, we've devised innovative solutions to make education accessible to all. For regions with limited Internet access, we've introduced hybrid learning programmes that combine online and offline elements. This ensures that individuals with varying levels of connectivity can still benefit from our programmes.
Q: How does EYouth ensure the adaptability of its programmes to different backgrounds, languages, and learning environments?
A: Our approach to customisation is multi-faceted. We have local trainers and content creators who understand the specific needs of each region. This allows us to tailor our programmes per country, ensuring they resonate with learners from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, we offer our programmes in multiple languages to accommodate different language preferences. Furthermore, our collaborations with reputable institutions globally and our pursuit of international accreditations grants us data and access to the pain points of each country. We have users from 14 countries in the Middle East, such as Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Kuwait, and have localised our programmes to fit each nation’s needs for 300 fields.
Q: Are there any potential challenges or competitors that EYouth faces in the market?
A: While global competitors like Skillshare and Udemy exist, our distinctiveness lies in our regional focus and linguistic offerings. Providing programmes in Arabic sets us apart, as we are attuned to the unique needs of the Middle East. Rather than viewing competitors as threats, we believe in a collaborative approach to addressing the considerable unemployment challenge in our region. Our focus remains on creating a meaningful impact rather than engaging in competition.
Q: Can you share a success story that highlights how EYouth's programmes have positively impacted an individual's career development?
A: Certainly, our success stories serve as a testament to the impact of our programmes. Over 350,000 graduates have found jobs through EYouth's programmes across the Middle East and North Africa. For instance, we've helped individuals like Samir, who used our AI and coding programmes to enhance their skills. Samir's success story showcases how EYouth bridges the gap between education and employment, creating meaningful pathways for career development in an increasingly competitive job market.
Q: What are EYouth's next steps for continued growth and development?
A: Looking ahead, EYouth is committed to expanding its impact through strategic initiatives. We aim to establish more partnerships, diversify programme offerings, and continually improve the quality of our content. Customisation remains central to our approach, enabling us to cater to the specific needs of each country and profession.
Q: What is EYouth's vision for the future, and how do you plan to further empower youth and expand your reach?
A: EYouth envisions creating a transformative impact by reaching 15 million users by 2027. Our roadmap involves deepening collaborations, garnering greater government and international support, and expanding our programme offerings. We aim to continue our focus on customisation, catering to specific country needs and career paths. Our commitment to affordable and high-quality education remains unwavering as we work to empower the youth of the Middle East and North Africa, helping them build better futures for themselves.
Abd Ellatif recognised the need for affordable and accessible learning opportunities in the face of financial constraints and limited access to quality education. Through EYouth, he has managed to transform these challenges into opportunities, offering a platform that empowers individuals to learn, develop skills, and secure meaningful employment.