Katlego Thinane

LenoKids (PTY) LTD

What does your company do?

LenoKids is a Gamified English Learning platform for kids, addresses the critical issue of literacy in South Africa, where 80% of foundation phase learners struggle to read for meaning. Nowadays, it is common for children to spend a lot of time using their phones. That's why we created a new and creative way for them to learn - by using a Whatsapp Chatbot platform! It offers interactive classes, games, storytelling, and handwriting that make learning fun and engaging for kids. We have piloted our platform in primary schools and activations in Malls, and we are currently rolling out to more schools around the western cape province. South Africa's literacy rate is a persistent challenge with alarming statistics revealing that 80% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning, according to Progress International Reading Literacy Study. This research is supported by various publications addressing the literacy crisis in our South African Education System. One of the recent articles from DAILY MAVERICK shows, “there is still no national plan to address SA's reading crisis as the percentage of children who can read for meaning declines”. At LenoKids, we recognize the importance of cultivating a love for reading at a young age to combat illiteracy starting from the foundation phase. To involve parents in their child's learning journey and address their significant role in improving these statistics, we developed a platform for parents and teachers to monitor their child's progress through learning and playing.

What is your biggest success?

My biggest success is anchored by my diverse team of individuals with backgrounds in computer science & finance as I believe I wouldn’t have done it without them. Positive feedback from activations and pilot studies, strategic partnerships, and international recognition at conferences like AIT and Web Summit Qatar that showcase the platform's effectiveness and global acknowledgment. Winning awards, such as Women in STEM Business, and collaborations with organizations like Silulo Foundation highlight our commitment to social impact. Representing LenoKids at these major conferences establishes an opportunity to collaborate and make meaningful partnerships. My team's dynamic approach and user testimonials affirm the project's value in addressing literacy challenges.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

As I reflect on our journey with LenoKids, I recognize that scaling our project has presented its share of challenges. One of the most significant hurdles we've faced is the inevitable increase in operational costs that comes with expansion. As we strive to reach more children and families, we've encountered the need to invest in additional staff, infrastructure, and marketing efforts, which has put a strain on our budget. Another key challenge has been maintaining the quality of our services amidst rapid growth. As LenoKids scales, it's essential to ensure that the standards of care and support we provide remain consistent across all locations and programs. This requires careful attention to staff training, program implementation, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation processes. Additionally, expanding our reach to a wider target audience has presented its own set of obstacles.