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‘We need to teach people how to solve problems’

A remarkable, innovative business model from the MD & co-founder of WeThinkCode_.

Arlene Mulder was an RMB investment banker for seven years, until her free-thinking, socially-minded, entrepreneurial self surfaced. She then went on to produce the idea for a tech company that breaks all of the education sector’s rules – and solves one of its most significant problems.

Today the educational tech business that she co-founded after leaving RMB, is two years old, employs 13 people and has a R20 million turnover. What’s more, the vision for WeThinkCode_ – to train 100 000 world class African coders in the next 20 years – is well on its way.

WeThinkCode_ is fundamentally a peer-to-peer learning environment with no teachers or tutored classes, and zero tuition fees. What the students are given however, are real life projects. Intriguingly, the French company Ecol24, on which WeThinkCode_ is modelled, states that We don’t teach the students anything, but they learn everything”.

The barrier to entry of this coding institution also deviates significantly from the educational norm – it’s what Mulder fondly and repeatedly calls ‘democratised access to opportunity and training’. Candidates don’t need matric nor any other diplomas, and only have to pass an accessible aptitude test to be invited. Plus, the students are 100% sponsored by corporates.

So how does the system work? How was the business model created? How did Mulder and her partner come up with an idea where their customers are corporates who can afford to pay them upfront, delivering cash flow that most businesses only dream of?

In this Quick Insight video extracted from a full length interview, Mulder explains, and discusses the sustainability of the WeThinkCode_ model.

Watch the full length interview here.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.

Other business leaders share their stories here.

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