One of the best kept secrets in Silicon Valley is the TVLP (tvlp.co), this stands for the Tech Venture Launch Program, an intensive business development, training and support program that provides global Tech Entrepreneurs with a detailed insight into the realities of Silicon Valley and more importantly the “Silicon Valley Mindset” required for success.
My name is Toks Oyegunle, an award winning, Harvard Business School alumnus and a serial Tech Entrepreneur with over twenty years’ experience across multiple tech ventures. My current venture, Portnall College UK (portnallcollegeuk.com) is an Educational Technology (EdTech) start up that addresses the lack of affordable, quality UK university degrees in Africa and China by providing access to UK university degrees via online based, video driven, modular education to these markets.
Can you imagine what this world would be like if access to quality university education was available to substantially more people across the developing world? The social benefit would be phenomenal simply because progress and opportunity will become more accessible as education becomes increasingly available. Making quality education widely available and affordable is what do at PortnallCollegeUK.com; current advances in educational technology coupled with new trends in transnational education creates the perfect environment to deliver quality, affordable education to anyone, anywhere in the world via the internet.
We have already secured official UK accreditation to deliver our courses, we are investment ready and currently seeking the right investors with an appetite for the online university education market in Africa and China. Our business model provides various courses via online learning and blended learning. Online learning students do all their studies online and only require an internet connection and a laptop, tablet or phone to attend our college. Our blended learning students however also attend physical classes at our partner schools and colleges across Africa and China. We licence and train local schools, colleges and universities to help with the delivery support of our courses locally.
I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Silicon Valley TVLP in June 2016 and spent approximately one month living in the heart of Silicon Valley while being exposed to the nuts and bolts of how the Valley really works. This was an intensive accelerator program that provided excellent training, networking and mentorship opportunities.
TVLP offer a few scholarships to applicants, I decided to apply for the UK Scholarship and it was granted to me. I was quite happy with this development as I may not have been able to attend otherwise. I was so impressed with the TVLP program that I wondered why global Venture Capital firms with substantial investment in local tech start-ups were not exploiting this powerful program for their own portfolio companies. Personally, I think it should be compulsory for start-ups to attend TVLP after raising an early round of angel or venture capital.
It is important to note that while the TVLP experience starts with a trip to Silicon Valley it clearly does not end there. This is a truly global program that provides further opportunities for alumni even after the program is completed. For example, there was an interesting alumni event in Berlin, Germany the Tech Hub of Europe towards the end of 2016, in addition to this was an alumni opportunity in China.
TVLP alumni were recently given a rare opportunity to apply for a sponsored trip to China to meet with Chinese investors that have expressed an interest in identifying suitable tech start- ups for investment. I applied for this opportunity and recently learned that my venture, Portnall College UK (portnallcollegeuk.com) was one of the 7 companies chosen for this sponsored trip to China! This is exciting news to me on two fronts, the first being that I have never been to China before and as a seasoned traveller I love exploring new countries.
Secondly is the fact that the right Chinese investor may be a perfect fit for my venture at this stage because we are currently targeting the Chinese market with our UK education offerings and seek to license local partner Schools, Colleges and Universities across China!
This has been a brief overview of my journey as a British Tech Entrepreneur of African origin, starting with a trip to Silicon Valley the capital of the global tech industry and now on in search for the perfect investor.
Toks Oyegunle (email@example.com)
Portnall College UK
Ph.credit: University of the Fraser Valley