By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos, Sept. 17, 2020 An Edtech startup, StudyFree, says it has finalised plans to assist eight scholars of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) who were denied scholarship funding to continue their studies abroad.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of StudyFree, Dasha Kroshkina, made this known in a statement signed by Mr Raymond Osheku, Country Manager of StudyFree, in Lagos on Thursday.
“StudyFree is an international Edtech startup founded in 2018 to help students to study abroad for free with the help of grants and scholarships through an online platform,’’ Kroshkina said
She said that the platform had established an initiative that would assist Nigerian students to find programmes with scholarships.
“StudyFree has established an initiative to help eight NDDC scholars to continue their path abroad.
“For those successful students who did not receive the funding from NDDC, StudyFree has provided them access to its platform to help them find programmes with scholarships abroad.
“It also facilitates their access to relevant information that will assist to prepare them for the application processes,” the founder said.
Kroshkina also said that there was a huge gap between ambitious African students who were ready for success and what the continent could offer.
The founder said her experience growing up in Russia was similar to the average Nigerian student, who hoped for a better education, but was restrained from studying abroad due to limited finances.
“Thus, I founded my startup ‘StudyFree’ to assist ambitious and goal-seeking students to realise their dreams- study abroad for free with the help of grants and scholarships.
Kroshkina said she combined her international expertise and entrepreneurial thinking to launch the platform that offered programmes from Bachelor’s Degree to PhD around the globe.
“When StudyFree became the Seedstar winner, our team focussed on the developing markets.
“However, among other developing regions, our choice fell on Nigeria as we found out that this country is rich with talented youths.
“Our goal is to help students who don’t have opportunities to study abroad, but who possess strong motivation and aspiration,” she said.
Kroshkina said that StudyFree had been holding interviews for over 150 Nigerian students who had zeal to study unlike other countries where students considered studying abroad as an opportunity to move.
The founder said: “In recent months, we held more than 150 interviews with Nigerian students. Our team was inspired by their sincere motivation to study.
“It’s worth mentioning that in other countries, students consider education abroad as an opportunity to move.
“Whereas in African regions, students want to accumulate state-of-the-art knowledge and come back to their home country to drive change, develop their regions, and give their experience back to the community.
“When our team hears such inspiring stories of African students, we’re especially glad to make the Nigerian market our major focus.’’
Kroshkina said explained that another great reason why we choose to focus on Nigerian market was the fact that Africa is a fast-developing continent.
“If China and India surprised people with their economic breakthrough, African market holds much potential.
“That is why if we give Nigerian students a chance to gain good education abroad, they will come back to their country with high-quality education and will expand business opportunities in Nigeria, developing the market,” she said.
Kroshkina said that 25 local ambassadors from Nigeria and South Africa were part of the StudyFree team to promote the values of equal, quality and free education and open doors to the world of opportunities for every Nigerian who were eager to fulfill their education dreams.
She said that under the initiative, students’ success rate was 98 per cent.
“Currently, StudyFree has over 25,000 active users and operates in developing markets, such as Russia, Ukraine, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
“StudyFree was accepted for accelerator programmes by Berkeley SkyDeck and TechStars NYC.
“We’re focussed on diverse opportunities, not only for students, but also for the team. Our team is 80 per cent female and operates throughout the world, from Europe to Asia,” she added.