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Startups To Watch In 2014 – Camara

April 8, 2014

As you may have seen in our earlier post entitled Best Startup Business 2014, we are looking at businesses that could vie for the title of Best Startup Business 2014.

Startups To Watch In 2014

In this series we are taking a look at some well-known success stories as well as brand new businesses that are still testing their offering. Our focus today falls on the international charity organisation Camara, which was started in Dublin, Ireland.


The meaning of the West African word Camara, “one who teaches with experience,” goes a little way to explaining what this startup is all about. Using modern technology, Camara educates and delivers education facilities to those in need, with the end goal being for these communities to break the poverty cycle they find themselves in, thanks to the better education received.

Startups To Watch In 2014 - Camara

Camara delivers these benefits in a few ways . . .

Firstly, by recycling unwanted high-quality computers. These generally come from companies who are going through a site upgrade and no longer have use for the old (3-5 years) equipment. The computers are refurbished in-line with international regulations, so that no trace of their previous owners and usage can be found on them. The refurbished machines are then loaded with Camara’s educational software and sold on at hugely discounted rates to Camara approved schools.

Secondly, Camara delivers a range of training programs, designed to meet the individual needs of the teachers. In Africa these cover basic computer literacy skills and maintenance.

Thirdly, Camara offers support contracts for the schools to buy, which are manned by technicians working out of a network of hubs.

Finally, obsolete equipment is recycled in an environmentally manner and replaced by Camara with up-to-date comparable machines.

Worldwide there are 800 million adults who cannot read or write. That’s more people than the entire population of Europe. 67 million children who are currently of primary school age do not attend school. Only 15% of households and just 10% of schools have access to the internet in Africa. These are the numbers that Camara was set up in order to reduce and they have been doing a fantastic job with 700,000 digitally literate children, 12,000 trained teachers, 2,500 eLearning centres and 50,000 computers in schools. These results are clearly major reasons as to why Camara has received so many prestigious awards.

Camara currently operates seven Education Hubs in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Lesotho and Tanzania), one in Jamaica and one in Ireland. All Hubs operate as social enterprises and are financially sustainable after one year.

Working as a social enterprise, Camara has thrived by operating under strong business principles to generate its own revenues which are then put back into the company in order to effect social change. Due to the success of this model, Camara has experienced significant growth, recently opening new offices in the UK and USA and now looking to implement a similar system in Central and South America to the one already in place in Africa.

Here at CurrencyFair we wish Camara the best of luck in all their future endeavours. Keep up the good work guys!

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