Elizabeth Kperrun-Eremie, indigene of Vande-Ikya LGA of Benue State, Nigeria, is an entrepreneur that sees no limits to achieving her dreams, be it becoming a fashion designer or creating a phenomenal mobile app that reminds young Nigerians tales their grandparents used to tell them under the brilliance of the village moonlight.
Nativedge TechSuccess team sat with the one-time “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” winner and discussed the interactive app, AfroTalez, which educates and enlightens young Nigerians about morals and virtues.
1. What do you do?
I am a serial entrepreneur at heart. My [current] baby is Lizzie’s Creations, an outfit that develops apps & games aimed at the education and enlightenment of women and children. I am also an aspiring brand spokesperson and a voice artist.
I manage Lizzie’s Creations. I am also an independent voice artist and do a few ads and brand spokesperson videos on some online outsourcing sites.
2.Tell us about AfroTalez.
AfroTalez is an interactive story-telling app that narrates traditional African folk stories to children.
3.When was the app created?
The app was created in 2013 and launched in September the same year.
4. What prompted you to create AfroTalez?
I came up with the idea of AfroTalez because I saw a gap: children watch a lot of cartoons these days and African traditions and culture don’t feature much in them. I also felt our folk stories were an essential part of our culture that is slowly being forgotten. Growing up listening to folk stories helped shape my morals, and I don’t think they should fade away so easily.
5.Why did you feel the need to incorporate stories told via word of mouth with technology?
The world has gone digital. Every idea today has to have some tech incorporated in it. Technology is the new frontier.
6. What kind of stories are on the app?
The app narrates African folk stories. There are an abundance of those. Every culture and tribe on the African continent has indigenous folk stories. We aim to explore as many of them as we can.
7. What was feedback like for Afrotalez?
The feedback for AfroTalez was phenomenal! I really didnt expect that much impact. Everyone who’s heard about it so far has been impressed and thinks its a commendable idea.
8. Who designed it?
I designed the entire concept myself: I researched the stories, wrote some, and did the narration. The programming was done by Idamiebi Ilamina Eremie of Sonbim games. He was a friend and former classmate then and now he is my husband. (laughs)
9. Wow fascinating. What kind of impact do you think your app has created?
I think the impact has been wholly positive. Because a few months after [the] launch, we entered an MTN app and game developer contest. 200,000 downloads later, we emerged as the best app in the entertainment & lifestyle category.
That was a huge deal for me! First strike and I had struck gold, so to speak. We’ve won a few more contests after that, been invited to take part in various conferences and seminars in Nigeria and a few other countries, and received a lot of media and publicity. Its all been a humbling experience really.
10.What led you to play “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”
I have always wanted to be on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” From the very first episode I watched. I love the idea of a game show where intellect is rewarded.
11.What was the experience like?
It was a trying experience at first. I studied. Played their online games. Studied some more. Played some more. And finally I qualified for an appearance on the show. The filming itself was fun. And I felt good when it was all done.
12.How much did you win and what did you do with your winnings?
I won 1 million naira and I just added it to the funds my fiance and I had been saving up for our wedding.
13. Have you done something similar to AfroTalez before? If not, what is next for you?
AfroTalez was my first foray into the tech/app development world. I had never done anything like it before so I relied on the expertise of the programmer who had had some experience by then. I hope to continue with AfroTalez. I hope to make it a successful franchise one day. We are looking at the idea of approaching a few children’s TV stations and pitching the idea of taking AfroTalez to TV.
I am currently working on another episode of AfroTalez and it has been months overdue but we are doing the best we can with limited funding. We are also working on an educational and interactive app for women. It’s titled Choices and it’s a visual novel. The idea is also uncharted terrain for us Africans just like AfroTalez was but I’m positive it’ll make the same kind of impact AfroTalez did. We’ll be launching a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo on the 15th of July to fund that project. I hope it surpasses our expectations.
14. Have you won any awards/ received recognition?
The most notable award we have won was in the MTN app developer contest. We won the Best app in Entertainment and Lifestyle. It was special for me because it opened the floodgates so to speak.
We have also emerged as finalists in a few other contests; most notable were Mobile West Africa 2014 and the She Leads Africa 2014 pitch fest. The latter was instrumental in Lizzie’s Creations being listed as one of the top 10 female entrepreneurs to watch out for by Forbes Africa.
We have also been interviewed by CNN, Voice of America and many other. We sincerely appreciate each and every article that has been instrumental to our success.
15. How do you think society can benefit from the kind of app you have created?
A lot about the African culture is unknown and or misunderstood. No one can correct that situation if we don’t do it ourselves. So in my little way, through my apps, I am educating and enlightening. I also want today’s children to learn about the things I learnt from folk stories as a child.