Meet Jenine Koh, SUSS student in the Early Childhood Programme and founder of NinoNews, an emerging platform which aims to provide content for preschool teachers to cover local news content through an age-appropriate medium. However, her road to creating the startup was not a bed of roses. Due to the unique difficulties in the Early Childhood space, Jenine started and learnt from ground zero before realising her startup vision.
Even before creating NinoNews, Jenine embarked on a long research to explore and examine what parents and pre-schoolers would need in the early years of education. Her first hurdle was finding the right people to network with and learn from. While early childhood educators were interested in her business idea, many of them did not have the right expertise to launch the business idea. Moreover, it was even harder to find investors who were interested in this field.
Her next hurdle was the onboarding of users and schools to ensure that everyone was familiar and comfortable with the digital platform. To do so, Jenine needed to get buy-ins from more preschools. This led her to travelling tirelessly to various schools to evangelise and teach the teachers the ins and outs of the digital platform. However in the process, she also managed to collect invaluable feedback to fine-tune the platform that was a strong boost to user experience – ultimately, catering to differing user knowledge of digital platforms.
Jenine’s determination and resilience finally paid off. Today, the platform has successfully onboarded six preschools as paying customers, with good feedback from both teachers and principals. Through SUSS’s recommendations as an Accredited Mentor Partner, NinoNews had also secured S$30,000 in grant funding. Furthermore, Jenine was also supported by the entrepreneurship team at SUSS to take part in the Vietnam Global Innovation Programme organised by Quest Ventures, allowing her to increase exposure for NinoNews and also make valuable connections in the region.
Looking ahead, Jenine hopes to grow this platform for networking and collaboration amongst teachers, elevating early childhood education for the entire industry. She has also set her sights on expanding her startup footprint into Southeast Asia through the networks of her co-founder based in Indonesia.