For thousands of local university students, financial challenges become hard choices when they need to buy expensive textbooks.
For a student from Molteno in the Stormberg mountains, this widespread problem presented an opportunity that led her directly to the 2022 MTN SA Women in Digital Business Challenge finals.
Nkcubeko Noyila‘s hometown in the Eastern Cape is famous for the rusks produced there. Now, it is also known as the place where a young woman with an aptitude for IT has made life easier for a generation of university students.
Already a serial entrepreneur testing business opportunities available in Molteno, her move to the University of the Free State led to Noyila’s business breakthrough – an app named Rebooked which addresses a glaring need in an academic environment where most people can’t afford new books.
It should be noted the Noyila also has a beauty and skin care brand called 4cYourself Products.
In her first year at university, Noyila’s early work on the Rebooked app was recognised and led to the offer of a place in an MTN mentorship programme.
“It took a year for Rebooked to be structured and another year to be developed,” says Noyila.
HOW DOES THE APP WORK?
The Rebooked app connects sellers and buyers of second-hand books – offering an alternative to buying new academic books or prescribed textbooks at retail prices through the limited numbers of dealers.
“Many of us couldn’t buy the books we needed because textbooks could cost well-over R1000 so we had to borrow and share books or spend countless hours at the library to read them. This obviously made studying and passing subjects difficult.”
While Rebooked was previously only active at certain times during the year because it focused solely on university books, the app has now developed to cater to all lovers of books – from members of book clubs to those just looking for something good to read.
The app is opening opportunities for anything concerning books, says Noyila.
“I see Rebooked becoming a place where even aspiring authors can self-publish and market their e-books and traditional paperbacks, or for a space for hosting live and virtual seminars for future writers and established authors to talk about their work and inspire others”.
WHAT IS NEXT?
To be added in 2023, is a feature that will enable people to create books on the site.
“The changes are so exciting, they’ve led to me having to reassess many of the features, including the payment mechanism. The initial idea was to offer students a chance to connect with other students and advertise venues where they could meet to do transactions for textbooks, but the safety considerations of this approach has meant building a safe online payment mechanisms into the app”.
The revamped Rebooked app goes live this month.