Thobo Khathola, CEO of Lion Tutoring

Jan 17, 2024
Thobo Khathola, CEO of Lion Tutoring

Please tell us your name, where your business is located and what is it that you do?

My Name is Thobo Khathola, Forbes Under 30 Class of 2020, My Business is Lion Tutoring located in Botswana South Africa and expanding to Kenya this year. The company is a tutoring company which we offer private tutorials to students at the comfort of their homes. We have an Mobile APP that works like Uber but for Tutors.Tell us about how you got started.

We got started in the year 2015, when I got home from South Africa after my studies and discovered that the tutoring industry in Botswana hadn’t really been professionalized and formalized. So we hired a few tutors, 5 at the time. Today Lion Tutoring employs over 300 young people in Botswana and South Africa.

What makes your company unique?

Our clients normally prefer our services over our competitors for the simple reason that we give them convenience of using our APP to select our tutors. Clients get a chance to VET their tutor and give other clients feedback in the form of reviews and ratings. We tailor make sessions to suit student’s academic needs and parents’ work schedules. We maintain a 98.8% Pass rate from the 2021 examination session. Lion Tutoring won 3 awards consecutively, names the Best Youth Owned Business in Botswana from the Botswana Youth Awards 2016, 2017 and 2018, and Listed on the Forbes Under 30 Class of 2020. 

No business is without setbacks, can you tell us about a time when you faced a significant setback and how you recovered from it?

As many SMME’s, we also faced Start up capital financing needs. Without this setback we could have captured 50% more market share than we had captured on our 1st year of operation. However this didn’t stop us from making progress. I personally used to tutor and use the proceedings for start up expenses. We bootsrapped the business from the little turnover we made.

How do you define success and to what do you attribute your success?

My personal definition of success is achieving the purpose that God has placed us on this world for the betterment of ourselves and others. I feel successful when I help other people achieve their purpose, whether its our students achieving their academic goals, our employees achieving their financials goals or our Governments achieving its employment GDP and other targets. At Lion Tutoring we have achived these goals hence society acknowledging us with awards etc.

What's next for your business, what will it look like in 5 years?

Lion Tutoring is in the process of expanding throughout the continent, and within 5 years the Goal is for the whole world to be using our APP to Get Tutors in their neighborhoods. We aspire to hire more than 10 thousand young teaching professionals.

What do you think the future holds for Africa-focused entrepreneurs and advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

As African entrepreneurs we are presented with an opportunity to create the future and not just look at it happen. With the 4th Industrial Revolution, technology and the pandemic, the playing field is almost level and this gives even small players the opportunity to compete in the global business arena. Companies with a digital plan and system will definitely thrive in their countries, the continent and the world at large.

Owning a business while balancing a personal life can be challenging; how do you take care of yourself?

I have been blessed with a wife and a one year old daughter so far and they really help coordinate our spiritual life, personal life, business life, health and family life. One business mentor in Botswana advised not to look for a work life balance but to look for Work life Unity. Instead of trying to balance time for family, business and others, we need these aspects of our life to work together in Unity. Because a win in one area can give another area momentum to thrive.

What is your favorite quote or mantra?  What keeps you going?

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”- Martin Luther King Jr 

What is your favorite app or a business tool that you can't live without

The Lion Tutoring APP. Haha. This is really a great APP that assists students find the right tutor in their neighbourhoods. We are also working on features for parents to be able to view that lessons are in session, download their child’s progress reports and see areas they can help their child in when they get home. Apart from this APP I also like WhatsApp for thorough communication with our teams.