“Within the SheEO community, it really helped shaped my mindset as an entrepreneur and really looking at opportunities that will strategically position EduCare to be a leader. The business is only as strong as the founders and the mindset of the founders.“
— Fowzia Mahamed, Founder and CEO of EduCare
In this episode
Catch up with SheEO Venture EduCare! Founder and CEO Fowzia Mahamed talks about what’s been happening with the company, including: searching for sources of non-dilutive funding, mindset shifts since joining the SheEO community, and developing an MVP to help students with disabilities across Canada.
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The podcast is being transcribed by Otter.ai. (there may be errors, run-on sentences and misspellings).
Fowzia Mahamed 0:00
Within the SheEO community, it really helped shaped my mindset as an entrepreneur and really looking at opportunities that will strategically position EduCare to be a leader. The business is only as strong as the founders and the mindset of the founders.
Vicki Saunders 0:20
Welcome in to the SheEO.World podcast. Today’s episode is a quick update from a SheEO Venture as they continue their work on the World’s To-Do List.
Loren Walsh 0:33
So we are so fortunate today to be in conversation with Fowzia Mahamed, and she is the founder and CEO of EduCare. And the first question I have for you Fowzia is just tell us a little bit about you know how you came to, to start EduCare. And a bit about your background. Who are you?
Fowzia Mahamed 0:53
Thank you, Loren. My name is Fowzia, I’m the founder and CEO of EduCare. EduCare is a software as a service platform that addresses, improves graduation outcomes for students with disabilities, through a tech enabled platform that connects education institutions, like college and universities, with health care providers. What we do is really about partnering with existing colleges and universities to improve and make these access to Accessibility Services very seamless. So students through the platform are able to virtually make appointments with doctors to access their medical and educational records that are validated. And then that information is given to the accessibility services to provide accommodation for these students and to ultimately our aim is to improve graduation outcomes for students with disabilities.
Loren Walsh 1:42
This sounds like something really important. And so I’m curious as to what led you to move in this direction and found EduCare?
Fowzia Mahamed 1:51
Well, it was a long journey to think about Educare. It was really based on my personal experience. So in my early 20s, I actually got diagnosed with a chronic health condition. And I went to pursue a PhD in the UK. And it was a very intense program in London, UK. And, you know, I was an international student, I was the only Canadian student in the program. And it was a program that required a lot of focus. I did my undergrad in Toronto. So I did my undergrad in psychology in Toronto, and then did a Master’s in U of T. But when I went to do the PhD, in my third year of the program, I actually tried to access accessibility services, and to get access to some accommodations, but because I, at that time, was quite late to access to request for accessibility services. I was dealing with a situation where I wasn’t able to get my medical records to be validated to be able to share with the university, and ultimately I, I dealt with my own discrimination through my PhD program. And five months of graduation, I actually didn’t end up completing my PhD. I am now back. And I’m now pursuing a PhD in special education. And I’m close to now another revisiting my past but I’m close to four months to graduation now. And that experience really led me the inspiration behind EduCare where, really what I want to do is focus on supporting students with chronic health and mental health conditions, to be able to be able to access services, to be able to ensure that they graduate and get access to the right services and and bridge the gaps between the educational institutions and our healthcare providers. I moved on to pursue a teach at the University in Dubai. And were there where I was exposed to incubators and accelerators. So I got exposed to the whole entrepreneurship space before in Toronto, Canada. I didn’t ever see any entrepreneur that looked like me. And so when I was in Dubai, I was exposed to entrepreneurs. On a daily basis, I will be sitting and listening to the different startups and also being part of the ecosystem in Dubai, UAE. When I moved back to Toronto, I joined other incubators and accelerators and went full speed ahead in really incorporating the business and developing EduCare. And we want to be sent like the leaders in terms of supporting in the education and health care space and really how we can better support the needs of students with disabilities with either chronic health or mental health condition.
Loren Walsh 4:40
This is very exciting. And I’m curious, this is a, you are a SheEO Venture, and I’m curious as to how that’s impacted the development of EduCare in the last year.
Fowzia Mahamed 4:52
So originally when I applied to SheEO I have to be honest, I was very lured with the fact that it was a non no interest loan. So it really resonated with me. But I also, at that time was interested in terms of being part of the ecosystem. But as I moved along the program and working with Loren and the, the ecosystem, I really try to change the mindset in terms of how I look at funding and really what we wanted to really focus on we originally our first game was $35,000 and and we will be able to get another amount of money, but what we wanted to do is really make sure that we have a value around removing that, you know, and and trying to not really having a different focus point and looking at things from a very much abundance mindset where there’s a lot of opportunities to be able to sustain financially your business. And when you do take on that you kind of lose ownership and a sense of your business and you feel that others will be able to dictate where your business goals but when, when you when when I’m moving along, as I move along this, this might my own mindset and my own capacities. And as an entrepreneur and a founder, I’m really passionate to look at non dilutive funding, and really leveraging opportunities within ecosystem to get revenue generating opportunities were looking at for where there’s early adopters, where I can get my first customers that were able to pay and license the product, rather than just looking for venture capital money, even though there is value in that as well. But as I bootstrap, and I move along, I’m really just, really changing my mindset in terms of how I look at funding. And within the SheEO community, it really helped shaped my mindset as an entrepreneur and really looking at opportunities that will strategically position EduCare to be a leader. And within that it’s really about — the business is only as strong as the founders and the mindset of the founders. So really want to stay away from the scarcity mindset. I’m really pushing forward to really having this abundance mindset and really tapping into the ecosystem to really leverage where I need outside of just funding. There’s a lot of opportunities that I can tap into, and really through the ecosystem within SheEO I feel that I’m able to tap into those resources.
Loren Walsh 7:22
That is, that’s just really powerful. And I’m curious as to how that shift in mindset has actually helped you reconfigure in many ways how you’re building EduCare. And I would love to hear just about where you are currently, I think you’re working on a pilot and just how that whole process has helped you understand the value chain more effectively. And just the mindset of, of getting of focusing in on what’s possible in terms of funding and as well, how you’re focusing on building your your company.
Fowzia Mahamed 7:59
In terms of how that mindset has shaped how we move forward within the EduCare business. For example, right now, we are in the process of applying for non dilutive funding. So about $100,000, we did get some funding also through the DMZ in the Ryerson for just which is all nine dilutive funding. So these opportunities I’m able to tap in not only get the funding, but I’m able to find the strategic partners who are able to push for the business. We also got so we got several funding that helped us be able to move along or prototype development. Right now we have a a mock up of an MVP. And right now what we’re trying to do is set up a pilot with the colleges in Toronto, and with the community health centers to be able to validate the platform and look at developing licensing agreements. So for example, right now, we did get pro bono legal services up to $25,000. And we were able to get that not through through the way of looking at from the abundance mindset, I was able to get financial support, that would have been costing me $100,000. But now I got it as a pro bono $25,000 to help us develop our licensing agreement or privacy policies that will shape us in the right platform to be able to be able to get that pilot agreement with the colleges and universities. So just that shift really helped me to be able to get opportunities that it’s outside of funding and and that types of skill sets and resources really helped us pushing us along. And right now we’re where we’re at right now is really setting up that pilot with the college and universities and with the community health centers once that product is validated by the students and the doctors will be able to scale that same software as a service platform across five other colleges universities about 24 Colleges University, we want to be able to have our product software service platform across all the colleges and universities in, in Ontario. And so we are looking forward to working with the SheEO ecosystem to help us push us to move forward in that direction.
Loren Walsh 10:14
Well, that is so exciting. So that brings us to asking about what would be helpful at this time from the SheEO community? Do you have an ask that potentially you’d like to make today?
Fowzia Mahamed 10:26
Yes. First of all, I want to just say thank you to the SheEO community to always supporting me as I move along. And my ask right now in where we are right now is to sort of get the support around setting up that pilot market entry strategy with the colleges and universities. And second of all, would be as we do rapid prototype development. What I’m hoping to do is really get support from the ecosystem of anybody who has built a software as a service platform, to help us of how we can develop the platform much more quicker within the pilot stage that we are in, that we’re moving towards, with one of the colleges in the community to help center. So those two are my main ask. And right now we are, as I mentioned, we’re talking about the abundance mindset, we are looking at applying for the impact readiness grant. I know that starting next semester, so I would love to work with any of the ventures or activators, who have already got funding last year to support in helping us to apply this year to use that funding to be able to support which is a non dilutive funding, and to help us with getting that prototype completely ready to go, that we can scale it across all the colleges universities in Ontario.
Loren Walsh 11:43
Well, Fowzia it’s been great to connect with you today. And we are so excited for you and honored to be working with you. And we’re looking forward to having an amazing year next year with a very successful pilot. And we’re confident of the amazing impact that you’re going to make with students across Canada.
Fowzia Mahamed 12:04
Thank you so much, Loren, appreciate it.
Vicki Saunders 12:09
Thank you for listening to the SheEO.World podcast. Like, comment, subscribe and share this podcast with your friends. We invite you to join a global community of radically generous women and non-binary folks at SheEO.World
Transcribed by https://otter.ai