Online Firm Introduces New Social Life For Students
Student Serve NG (SSN) is Nigeria’s first dedicated discount service for students in universities and secondary schools in Nigeria helping them save a minimum of 10% per transaction in their favourite online and offline stores.
In this interview, Chief Executive Officer (SSN), Kunle George shares how he birthed the dream to connect students to thousands of exclusive discounts from different online and offline stores, both locally and internationally with Everistus Onwuzurike.
Tell us about Student Serve.ng
Student Serve Ng is a students’ discounts platform that exposes Local students to exclusive discounts through the year in their preferred restaurants, hotels, transport, events and more in Lagos. These students range from secondary to university levels of education. All a student needs to do is to visit our website, Click on GET CARD fill the required information and proceed to pay. The card is then delivered within 3 – 5 days including Saturdays and Sundays. After which the student can now visit any of our partner stores and just swipe your card to get allotted discount.
In an era where students are majorly concerned about grades and certificates, what birthed this dream?
There’s more to education than just academics. People need to socialise, network and build relationships. All these aren’t taught in the classroom. Being a socialite myself, I perceived “fun” in Lagos isn’t pocket-friendly so I put myself in the average student’s shoes and realised I will not be able to partake in any social activities due to the cost.
So I thought to myself, service providers should be able to structure and offer something exclusive to these students simply because they live on budgets and generally don’t have a second source of income. I felt this service has been long overdue and it is the right time to give our students a voice through student pricing. That was how I birthed the Student Serve Nigeria (SSN) – a subsidiary of Kuncard Discount Enterprise.
What impact have you made so far?
In terms of impact, I would say I’ve made students realise value for money, which has always been the objective. There’s really no service that solely caters to students’ needs in the market. The feedback we received so far has been great but we can obviously get better.
About the 10percent discount, do you in any way feel it’s too small and are there plans for increasing the rate?
The 10% discount is the minimum discount you get on our platform. Our discounts range from the minimum of 10% to 25% depending on the service providers. We have partnered with hotels that offer up to 30%. We can negotiate better discounts for our students in the future, which solely depends on the growth and responsiveness of our market.
To what do you attribute your success?
I don’t think I’m successful yet. There’s so much work to be done. We haven’t fully devised the perfect blend of services for this market. I would say we’re still in the research phase. However, in terms of progress since launch in July 2017, I would say persistence and grace.
We sold over 600 discount cards between July and December 2017 and we were able to partner with Oxbridge Tutorial College in that span. We are currently in talks with another sixth-form college and a few secondary schools to buy into our initiative.
What are the major challenges?
So far, I would say we have two major challenges. Most students think our service is too good to be true. They think it’s a scam. They do not believe that at N2,500, one can get access to this many discounts for 12 months, which is funny to me.
Secondly, representatives of major companies are not readily accessible. They have no working emails and phone numbers, they do not reply emails, no functional websites, can hardly locate their head offices, and to ice the cake, the security guard tries to do the job of a desk officer. To be honest, the list is long.
What is unique about your business?
To be honest, there’s no company that solely caters to the needs of local students. We are doing something unique. We want to create a discount culture. We want it to be the prerogative of the average Nigerian student to get access to exclusive discounts simply because he/she is a student.
Where do you see your company in few years?
We will definitely be the state’s leaders in offering student services. Not just discounted services but in other aspects that interests the student. These could be legal, medical or even accommodation solutions.
How many companies have you been able to partner with?
Currently, we have about 17 partners, which include restaurants, hotels, entertainment and transport.
Since your business is all about partnerships, have you ever turned down any client?
Yes, we have. We haven’t been approached by major companies, however.
We turned down a few because we just didn’t see how those partnerships would benefit us.
What do you look for in prospective partners?
We do not randomly approach service providers for partnerships. Most times we consult our students about where they want to experience discounts then we contact that company and sell our initiative to them. If you’ve seen our logo, our motto is “For students, by students’. This simply means our students influence a lot of our partnerships.
So to answer your question, it is really the student that has the answer to this. We just do our job, which is to negotiate a discount for the students.
Do you have competitors and how do you deal with them?
I think I do have competitors and believe me, I pay close attention to them. We all need competition in this space because it’s healthy for businesses and can improve in areas in which they’re underperforming and so on.
All I can say is, we have the better service because it works and is suited and tailored in the interest of the students.
Tell us about your greatest moment of success?
When I got the Oxbridge Tutorial College order, I was overjoyed. I was dead chuffed. God bless the Managing Director, Dr, Ogunsanya, and Vibha.
You are always around school environs with students, so If you were the Minister of Education, tell us what you would want to change in our education sector?
The entire system needs a revamp. But what I will do is start with the primary schools. We need to reset our way of thinking in Nigeria. We need to teach these young ones to ask questions, to be brave, to express themselves properly, to be confident amongst many others. We don’t know our rights and are the definition of hypocrites, and that’s why we are a failed state. Uneducated people under democratic leadership will elect incompetent leaders.
If we focus on a new generation of Nigerians, we can influence change to a certain extent. We can introduce a new line of thought, a generation of curious and brave individuals who will always question authority because they know their rights.
However, I don’t think I would have the power to change anything as the Minister for Education. I would rather become a billionaire and open affordable schools with my billionaire friends, introduce loan schemes and offer affordable quality education so everyone can attend.
The Nigerian government isn’t ready to effect positive change in any sector so I don’t think I will entertain the thought of becoming a politician, let alone a minister anytime soon.
Source- THE NATION ONLINE