The Mangalore-based Foradian Technologies Pvt Ltd, which is into the production of open source school management software called ‘Fedena', is targeting the education sector in African countries for its growth.

Mr Unni Koroth, Chief Executive Officer of this technology start-up, told Business Line that the company recently implemented Fedena in Technical and Vocational Teachers College (TVTC) in Zambia with onsite implementation and training. Fedena was customised as per the process of TVTC. “It is one of the most successful and profitable projects of Foradian,” he said.

Added to this, Foradian has entered into partnership with a company in Kenya. “Through this, we are aiming the government schools in Kenya and other countries of Africa. This will be one of the most important strategic projects undertaken by Foradian,” he said.

(It may be mentioned here that Foradian has implemented its open source school management software in 15,000 schools under the Kerala Government's Sampoorna school management system project.)

He said that partners of Foradian in other African nations are also trying for e-governance projects powered by Fedena.

Mr Koroth said his company has made partnership with established and start-up technology companies in African countries. Foradian has given them exclusivity rights to resell Fedena. (Though Fedena is open source software, Foradian charges for services such as customisation, support, installation and training.)

At present, the company has eight partners in African countries. In the next fiscal, it plans to have at least 20 partners in that market.

The only barrier for Foradian in the beginning was the problem with Internet connectivity. Foradian solved it by providing offline versions of Fedena software instead of hosted solutions. “Language was never a barrier for us to enter the African market. We don't need translations to get users from Africa,” he said.

WHY AFRICA?

On the factors that lead to the growth of technology companies in the African market, he said nearly a billion of people in Africa are still offline, and Internet is arriving only now. A huge network of fibre optic cables is being laid on both east and west coasts of Africa. “Since Foradian is still in its growth phase, we can adapt to market requirements quickly. Our partners suggest us the customisation, which will be applicable to a majority of institutions in their country,” he said.

Nearly 60 per cent of the Fedena's revenue comes from African countries, he added.

vinayakaj@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 16, 2012)
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