Tollabco

The academic achievements and pursuits of young Palestinians striving to make a difference in the world can many times become overlooked. However, Palestine is a society that places a great value on education, PCBS reports that literacy rates are at an all-time high reaching over 95 percent, as are unemployment rates which are at 27 percent, one of the highest rates in the world. With a population that is dedicated to academically persevering to secure a better future, thousands of Palestinians are striving now more than ever to excel in their academics and work towards a better life. 

It is within this context that a group of dedicated students from cities across Palestine emerge to make a change. Ameen Taha, Masa Abuzahra and Ahmed Etkaidek, civil engineering students from one of Palestine’s most prestigious academic institutions, Birzeit University, became fast friends during their time there. However, what really united them was their shared vision to support the academic journey of dedicated students by helping them realize their academic potential. Pooling their collective resources and experience, these three innovators turned their passion into a reality, thus taking the first step towards the creation of Tollabco. 

Founded in 2018, Tollabco is a platform that provides students of all ages with private tutoring lessons in the subject of their choice. However, what sets Tollabco apart is their approach to tutoring, by focusing on university students striving to earn an income while pursuing a degree. Tollabco ingeniously recruits some of the most highly qualified university students as tutors who are otherwise known as leaders. Leaders, as they are leading a new generation of students with the tools of success. 

The idea behind Tollabco emerged from the inability of the respective co-founders to successfully maintain a job while pursuing their graduate studies. “After failing to find a job while studying we thought that we have to create suitable jobs for students, so they can help themselves and be independent before graduating from university, and this was the beginning, we wanted to launch something that connects students who can provide products or services with the local community,” explains Taha. Tollabco empowers university students with the opportunity to work around their busy schedules, while at the same time providing students from all walks of life with the opportunity to access quality tutoring lessons at a low cost. 

“Three years ago we started with a raw idea which was a platform to connect students with the local market, we went to the business-hub in Birzeit university, where we got mentorship services for one year, we then studied the market and university community,” explains Taha, as he reveals the initial steps before officially launching Tollabco.  

Becoming a tutor is simple, university students simply create an account on Tollabco’s dedicated website and connect with students who require their relevant proficiency on a subject. On the other hand, interested students are able to reach out to Tollabco via their dedicated website, social media outlets as well as through a simple phone call to book a tutoring session. A Tollabco representative will then send the request to the appropriate tutor, which will then be followed up for payments and feedback. 

Apart from the respective co-founders Ameen Taha, Masa Abuzahra, and Ahmed Etkaidek, Tollabco is composed of one full time employee, ten-part time employees called ‘leaders,’ and more than 300 tutors. Since their launch, Tollabco has compiled over 2,500 hours of tutoring lessons, over 2500 registered tutors in the Ramallah area and 50 in Bethlehem. More than 60,000 NIS, 80% of revenue went directly to the tutors. 

In order to expand outreach and maximize impact, the Tollabco team rely on social media and word of mouth to spread the word. Tollabco is currently in operation in both Ramallah and Bethlehem, and are set to expand to Jerusalem in June of 2019. However, Tollabco is working to expand their scope on a regional level with plans to implement their platform in Amman in 2020. “Within the next few years, we hope to become amongst the youngest Arab entrepreneurs who made an international platform and a turning point on tutoring system,” says Taha. While Tollabco hopes to secure investments of up to 1 million Dollars to expand globally and maximize impact, on a regional, primarily to integrate into Jordanian markets, the team looks to secure a maximum of 200,000 USD in Angel investments. The Tollabco team are also looking for strategic mentorship connections and market support to sustainably expands Tollabco into additional markets.  

Tollabco is the perfect example of how emerging Palestinian entrepreneurs are combining the needs of a growing segment of employable graduates with marketplace opportunities. In terms of impact Taha had this to say, “First of all we believe that you have to become economically stable to achieve other things, inside Palestine we are trying to make a social change and convert the university generation into a productive one which can be independent.” He adds, “The success of a Palestinian platform outside the Middle East region in the midst of the occupation and community obstacles will shine a light on our Palestinian heritage and provide a global platform for our stories.”

To find out more visit: http://www.tollabco.com/

And on Facebook: @Tollabco 

Written by
Leila Farraj
- Palestine
Leila Farraj is MENACatalyst’s Digital Content Strategist. Since the launch of MENACatalyst, Leila has been integral in developing and managing content that strategically reflects the overall mi... Leila Profile
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