Meet the young entrepreneur who created the genius ‘Uber for tutors’ app

Dollita Okine June 14, 2023
Khathola began his entrepreneurship journey tutoring from the boot of his parents’ car to help students get better grades. Photo Credit: Lion Tutoring

Thobo Khathola, CEO of Lion Tutoring International, began his entrepreneurship journey tutoring from the boot of his parents’ car to help students get better grades. The young entrepreneur hails from Botswana, and was inspired to start his business after his experience as a university student tutor sent him down the path to success in 2015.

In an interview with Forbes Africa, Khathola said, “I have always been passionate about education and bothered by the declining pass rate of academics in my country and in Africa as a whole. I managed to gain experience and identified a niche.”

He also explained that he further understood the need for tutors from his own personal experience because he skipped a grade when he was in senior high school and required the help of a tutor to help him cover a year’s amount of work in three months before his big examination.

The young entrepreneur took loans from his friends and family to fund Lion Tutoring, which he says works like “Uber for tutors.” Today, he has paid off his loans and is enjoying rippling benefits.

Thobo began his business as a tutoring company, and merged the tutorials with technology some time later. Today, the company matches tutors and students across Botswana, South Africa, and other parts of Africa.

Tutors are deployed to students’ homes all across Gauteng and Gaborone, and for those who cannot make it physically, there is an online option. Kathola has taken advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution – engaging customers through his e-commerce platform and mobile app.

Through his Uber for Tutors app, subscribers are able to book a tutor once they sign up and create an account on the platform. Students can search for specific subjects they would like to be tutored in, and be linked or connected to available pre-vetted tutors within their location. It usually takes a day to match the best tutor to the right student.

Innovations of the World noted that Lion Tutoring has attained a 96% pass rate from its 2018-2019 results. The teachers that are recruited hold either PGDE or bachelor’s or master’s in education certificates.

Kathola’s company has been operating for eight years now and has employed over 300 young specialists and educators as tutors. The company is situated in Gaborone, Botswana, and has its head office in Bryanston, Sandton.

“Our mission is to empower students by identifying their areas of improvement, nurturing their talents, and equipping them with the necessary tools and strategies to succeed,” Kathola shared with the Business Report.

Aside from his commercial business, the entrepreneur also founded the Lion Tutoring Community-Based Project, which gives assistance to communities such as SOS Children’s Home, Childline, and Mogonye Primary School. His goal is to expand his tutoring platform to be accessible in all African countries.

In 2017 and 2018, Lion Tutoring won the Best Youth Owned Business award at the Botswana Youth Awards, and took home the Best Youth Business award at the Palapye Business Expo.

The University of Pretoria alumnus also made the Forbes 30 under 30 List and appeared on the cover of April Forbes Africa magazine in 2020.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: June 14, 2023


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