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Startup Stories ————————
“Everytime I think about some of my friends back home, I see what they could have so that they could be successful, but not a lot of people have access to good education. It’s troubling.”
It’s a sentiment that Tomi Salam expressed many times as he explained his reasons for starting StudyInc., a startup partnered with LAB B that aims to create an educational tool meant to provide accessible learning to individuals even if they lack adequate internet access or monetary resources.
“Internet access shouldn’t stop you from getting quality education,” insisted Salam.
Born in Nigeria to a businessman father and an entrepreneurial mother, Salam quickly learned the importance of hard work and a good education. But just as quickly, he also became aware of the large disparity in many parts of the world between education and accessibility, due to factors like economic status, and geographical location. He saw this disparity all around him.
Salam is a former strategy partnership manager at Rumie. He noticed that while the organization he worked for, as well as many others, were working towards providing education to children, there was still a lack of accessible and affordable resources for adults to learn and obtain steady employment, both globally and locally.
“Education is a challenge that needs to be solved somehow. For sometime now I’ve been going to Aboriginal reserves, and you see people not having access even in Canada, which is close to all the development,” Salam explained, adding, “And you think about the people in some parts of Mexico, or some parts of India, or some parts of Ghana, who are not so close to all these online materials.”
“What happens to them?,” he questioned.
Thus, the idea for StudyInc. was born.
The intention: to create a tablet that would ideally provide quality educational resources at a low cost, all in one accessible place. Salam is currently developing the product, and working with professionals and academics willing to provide educational courses and resources to the platform.
While online and distance learning resources are a viable option for some, just as many people – if not more – lack the means to pay for them, or for internet access, among a number of other prominent barriers to education.
“If all these huge companies, online platforms, and distance learning institutions exist, and we still have this problem, we have a lot of work to do. That’s the gap that StudyInc. is about to fill.
He hopes to bridge the gap between education and accessibility, so that all individuals can get the learning they need if they so desire. StudyInc. aims to provide its users with education that would facilitate a quick turnaround, so that they can finish a course and immediately be ready to find a job in that field. It’s a model that is both feasible and a long time coming.
Salam himself was perplexed that no one had thought to fill this gap before. Bigger companies with more resources would be able to get a rapid start on a platform like StudyInc., yet no one has.
Salam recalled a woman he met at the Six Nations reserve, who struggled to receive basic math education for a job she needed. Getting this education proved to be a challenge for her.
“With all the resources in the world, it is still hard for some people to get math education,” Salam said, disappointment visible on his face.
Salam recalled that he himself experienced fluctuations in his academics – he went from a high scoring high school student, to scoring poorly in university.
When he moved to Canada for graduate studies, he remembers doubting his ability to compete. Instead, he found his stride, and performed well in his masters program.
“I never thought I could do that. Canada made that possible,” Salam stated.
Through StudyInc, Salam hopes to make it possible for others to learn, to succeed, and to work for the life that they want. He aims to provide a platform for learning that mitigates the obstacles people might face in their pursuit of higher learning.
“Anybody can learn and achieve. Everybody can be brilliant if you give them the tools they need to succeed.”
– Tomisin Salam, Founder, StudyInc
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