From a very young age Wemel was unexpectedly thrust into a role of responsibilities that came about after his father’s untimely death. As the second oldest child of seven children being raised by a single parent, he realized early on that he would have to make certain sacrifices to ensure the well-being and better of his family. He finished his primary school education and dropped out of school straight after to join the working world and assist his mother in supporting our family.
Throughout his teen years, there were many challenges and lessons Wemel went through. Despite the down times, he always had to keep his head held high and his attitude positive to ensure he was the best person that he could be for his family. A constant question that was always swimming in his mind as Wemel was growing up was, at the end of all this,what path he was going to decidedly take?
Growing up after having dropped out of high school, Wemel always had a passion and understanding for the importance of education. Whenever time permitted, he would always go out of his way to learn, all kinds of different subject matters, on his own. To Wemel personally, learning is a lifelong journey and he believed we have to be willing to constantly learn, unlearn, and relearn in order to grow. It is this mindset that has helped Wemel become the person that he became today.
Due to his early start in the working world, Wemel managed to enter into a myriad of industries in a short period of time. From his beginning as an office boy to an encyclopedia salesman to an assistant in a butcher shop – he trusted that all these jobs would be an opportunity to learn lessons that would help him move on to bigger and better things.
After saving money from his many years in the working world, Wemel started a business venture with a group of friends. The venture took off and this was the start of his career as a businessman. Wemel then went on to start a venture with his siblings that today has grown and diversified from consumer goods to education to resorts.
When the millennium came around, Wemel’s wife (a law lecturer at the time), got me excited about the internet and all the potential technology advancements it had to offer. This was how his venture into mobile learning started. Only after Wemel had entered the industry did he realize he was among the pioneers and that in order to flourish in the market; he first had to create awareness about the industry and educate the people alongside the organizations on the features and benefits of mobile learning. It has been a very challenging but exciting journey so far.
Since then, LTT Global Communication has become a recognized global pioneer in mobile learning. LTT Global has helped achieve a personal dream of his, which is to help make learning accessible and affordable to all. It was his passion for learning that molded me into the man he is today.
LTT Global’s main aim, from their main business to all their Corporate Social Responsibility projects, is to ensure that they create accessible and affordable avenues to spread learning everywhere. Apart from LTT Global, Wemel currently serve as the co-founder and advisor of the Asia Pacific Mobile Learning & Edutainment Advisory Panel. The role of the Advisory Panel is to steer, inform and influence educational decisions by developing and disseminating evidence of the progress and impact of technology in education, technology innovation and effective practice. I also sit on multiple other committees that drive the mobile sector both locally and globally alongside being a mentor and speaker in the industry.
What exactly is MyMobileUni?
MyMobileUni.com is a FREE learning platform offering access to academic, lifestyle, lifelong and consumer education. We have 11 channels and thousands of courses, e-books and other digital content suitable for all who want to learn, re-skill or up-skill themselves. We are harnessing the power of technology, and mobile phone networks to give low-cost access to learning anywhere anytime. The platform is designed to be device agnostic and may be accessed via mobile phones, tablets and computers. The 1st phase of MyMobileUni includes 11 dedicated channels with programs ranging from a large collection of university and professional courses, preschool, primary, high school and college programs life skills, lifestyle and lifelong learning, how-to-guides, video talks, study tools, e-books, news, music, motivation, informational resource.
How did you come up with the idea of MyMobileUni?
While surfing the internet I came across a statement that said, “there are 6 billion people who have little or no access to education around the world”. I really wanted to do my part to contribute to making this statistic better. Together with the team we realized that we had, over the years while doing research, come across many good websites and so decided to create MyMobileUni.com – a portal to impact lives globally through education.
Apart from the above reason, the other things that influenced us were: Student study debts are on the rise. Not many students able to pursue higher education because of lack of funds. Employers not able to get the candidates with the right skills for the job A recent global study, by Telefonica, of young adults aged between 18-30 years said access to technology and education will help to bring them out of poverty and ensure them of their success. Globally students, professionals, and businesses have to remain relevant in their pursuit of success and to remain competitive. People retrenched, unemployed, people who come out of long medical leave they all need to up-skill or re-skill, people between jobs looking for better opportunity and those with no funds at least get to start from somewhere.
With MyMobileUni.com, now everyone gets an opportunity to learn something new, up-skill or re-skill themselves with money and time is no longer being an issue.
Could you walk us through the process of joining MyMobileUni?
FIRST STEP IS TO REGISTER
1. Go to www.MyMobileUni.com
2. Click on Sign Up tab
3. Fill out the Registration Form and Click Submit.
SECOND STEP IS TO ACCESS THE LEARNING CONTENT
1. Go to MYMOBILEUNI.COM
2. Click on LOGIN
3. Start to LEARN.
Once you login to the portal, find a course you want, and then start working on it. There are 11 channels covering Universities and Colleges, Entrepreneur and Business Programs, Computer Science and IT Programs, Professional Courses, Soft Skills and Skills Training for Workplace, Video Talks and Lectures, Life Skills and Lifestyle Programs covering Motivation, Music, Art and Hobbies, Programs for Teens and Children, Worldwide Radio and News, education software tools and exciting mobile apps for your mobile devices.
How has it been like managing the business since?
It is definitely a world of difference from when I used to run my brick and mortar business. The dynamics of business have changed so much. The way we work with the team, to handling customers, to the way the business is run overall now is totally different and requires the person in charge to be open to change and constantly evolving with the changing times. If you do not adapt to the new changes that come about, it will be difficult to grow as a company.
The industry I am in now is more of a collaborative market (& world). Working together brings about new opportunities and advantages of its own. So the people we choose to work with have to have the right synergy with us.
Did you find anything particularly difficult during the startup?
In the beginning, when we started LTT Global, we had to keep all our overheads low. This was mainly because the first few years were focused purely on R&D and creating awareness. This meant that we had little to no income in the early years. Our first office was actually located in an internet café where we had struck a great deal with the landlord. He allowed us to rent the office space inside for a good rate and gave us a discount on the computers available for us in the café. There was also a university nearby that allowed us to hire knowledgeable and talented staff on a project to project basis. Our arrangement helped us keep our overheads low as there was no real need for permanent staff or hardware costs initially.
How was the initial reaction?
As an industry pioneer – we encountered many challenges in the beginning. Challenges were mainly due to the market not being ready and the corporations and consumers not being aware or educated on the benefits mobile learning can bring them. In the early days, we had to do a lot of programs to show how mobile learning could help enhance an individual and also how organizations stood to gain. Over time however, market conditions came to be more in our favor with infrastructures being built by third parties and devices becoming more popular, user-friendly and powerful.
Today, we see a glistening light at the end of the tunnel as people have slowly changed their reaction to our work. They are more inclined to ask today, “what can I learn on my mobile phone” as compared to the initial question that was the norm when we started – which was, “can I actually learn on the mobile phone?!!”
Do you face a lot of competition in this industry?
We did not face much competition as mobile learning is still happening in pockets globally. Our strategy is to collaborate and reach out to make education accessible.
Have you developed any industry insights that you could share?
In the last 10 years internet and mobile has changed the way people live, work, play, do business and now learn. The education industry needs to evolve, just like how the other industries have evolved to remain competitive. By dramatically altering the way we educate, we bridge the gap between what businesses need from their employees and what the traditional education industry is teaching. This will lead to better preparing our workforces and leading to a positive impact on the global economy. Today lifelong learning is becoming a necessity rather than a choice.
How have you managed to stay relevant in this industry?
One of our main strategies is having founded the Asia Pacific Mobile Learning & Edutainment Advisory Panel in 2007. This was our NGO and played an important role in keeping us being relevant despite the fact mobile learning was in its infant stage. We did programs to educate workforce, individuals, we have annual conference bringing world renowned speakers to share what Is happening globally, we do mentoring , we have networking sessions and we also go as speakers and are on the board on several committee driving the mobile industry. Also by reading, participating in other conferences, talks and networking sessions.
What are your future plans for MyMobileUni?
MyMobileUni is a university for the people by the people. The FREE part will always remain FREE and regularly updated. Our next phase sees us incorporating an authoring tool to the portal. This is a tool that allows anyone who would like to share knowledge to do live or recorded sessions and have the option to share it for FREE or market it in on the MyMobileUni mall. Also in the pipeline is our MyMobileUni Mall.
We are also talking to some organizations for certification on selected programs. We also have a global campaign to raise funds called Touching Lives Campaign. Our next phase is where we invite local universities, companies and NGOs’ to make available free content to power human capital development on our platform to reach out to both local and international market. We also are working with organizations and universities globally to bring awesome content to the platform.
We hope to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families and give positive impact to the organizations they work for. Time and money should no longer be an excuse for not pursuing a course or picking up a hobby or increasing one’s knowledge. Our long term goal is to make MyMobileUni a household name when it comes to looking for anything related to learning!
What do you think about startups in Asia?
They need a lot of support, this is a growing culture in Asia now and support is an integral part of it from mentoring, motivation, funding, market access, workshops.
What is your definition of success?
Success is when you know who you are, what you want and where you see yourself going and most importantly when you are in control of your own life