Father of four Abel Tutagalevao talks being his own boss and rolling out an education app designed to build young children's confidence.
What does your business do?
Culturalhubb is a primary producer of culturally relevant educational resources, games and toys that I started back in 2017. The company, based in Auckland, aims to create fun, innovative educational resources to inspire and empower kids to be reach their full learning potential. Culturalhubb owns the Ready For Big School app.
The app is designed for children up to the ages of six or seven and it helps children who are in preschool to help them transition into primary school and getting into morning routines, learning to manage change, self-help skills and how to manage emotions and build resilience.
What was the motivation for starting the business?
As a Pacific-born parent of four children, I know how important it is to not only keep our languages and cultures alive for our children but also for them to increase awareness of Te Reo Maori and cultural diversity in learning.
It's not just about educating kids, it's also about keeping cultures and languages alive by supporting indigenous communities and in turn allowing children to appreciate those in school and community, and to understand the significance of cultural heritage.
With the recent events in Christchurch, the app available in different languages and helps the child to achieve this. They learn to be confident, empowered and appreciate and connect with the wider world.
There are seven languages in the game including Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese and Te Reo Maori, it can help immigrant families. We'll be adding in more such as Punjabi and an African language.
What does your app do?
The app is an animated story book to pretend and explore the idea of going to school for the first time and different scenarios children will experience at school.
I had the opportunity to work with a few principals and new entrants teachers to understand some of the experiences children new to school experience when they first start and we have transferred some of those experiences into the game to help children boost their confidence.
Sometimes there are pre-school programmes where children get to visit school with their parents but the problem with that is it only helps to see the classroom and environment but it's just a snapshot of that day. Having a game like this where it explores scenarios, children get to experience it and practice it all the time. The more repetition they do, the more confident they become.
How big is your team?
It's a one man operation at this stage but I have had the help of contractors such as developers and different translators. We launched the app in February and so far we have around 50 people regularly using.
What are your long term plans for Culturalhubb?
I'll be doing some presentations with disability organisations and I'll be rolling it out to schools and preschools shortly. I've been doing quite a few presentations and expos and a few social functions to promote the app and in the future I'll again be visiting schools to spread the world. The app is a paid app where people pay a one-off cost to download and use.
I plan to produce more apps around education, pre-schools and primary schools, and introduce different ethnic languages and themes. At moment we have 44 scenarios and themes, which is a good start, but we plan to expand on that.
What advice do you give to others thinking about starting their own business?
Believe in yourself and go for it, don't look back. Find something that really inspires you, your passionate about and something that makes a difference to society.