Khadija Elbedweihy, a tech pioneer championing equal opportunities in STEM — Lionesses of Africa

LoA had the privilege of learning more about Khadija Elbedweihy’s inspirational journey this month as she was announced as the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes award winner.

What inspired you to start your company?

I was born and raised in an academic family, which certainly affected my personality and choices. I always had this passion for understanding what computers do, how they work and how to facilitate communication between humans and computers. This passion was the driving factor to obtain my bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Computers and Information from the University of Cairo, coming as top of my class for four years in a row. Later on, I went to pursue my PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Sheffield and came back to Egypt to be the youngest lecturer at my university.

My inspiration comes from my ultimate goal and vision of improving education. I remember that in almost all of my family gatherings, we did not stop talking about how education can solve the world’s problems, how it can change the future of nations, and how advanced countries, which were once emerging, did it by focusing on education. And this is what I did, I wanted to change my daughter’s future and the world she will be living in to the better. I was always observing and wondering about what the major problems in education are and what could be something that I can change and work on.

During my time at Sheffield, being around many science students, I realised the importance of laboratories and experimenting for them in increasing their understanding of a specific concept and also their engagement and motivation to learn more. This led me to dig deeper and research more, to find out that there are severe obstacles/challenges that both students and educational institutions are faced with when only relying on traditional labs; Safety hazards, high costs, ethical challenges, and limited access for students which usually resulted in lack of their engagement and interest, and finally the high churn rate. These are only some of the many problems that traditional science labs and science education are facing. This all showed a specific need and allowed me to envision having a positive impact on education and helping in creating better and equal opportunities and advanced levels in STEM education for future generations.

What makes your business, service or product special?

Let me first say that the market is huge with thousands of universities, hundred thousands of schools and millions of students around the world, so the market is big enough for several players. Having said that, we have always worked on our competitive advantage to provide students with the ability to focus on practicing inside the lab as much as needed without wasting time in having to do prolonged steps and having to watch or read multimedia with each step without the freedom of choosing when to do that or when it is most needed, so that the focus is on exercising and not wasting time, but still being able to access more info, but only when the students want and need to. Also providing very high levels of interactivity and resemblance for the real labs is always an edge for us in addition to multi-language support (Arabic in addition to English and working on adding Spanish soon) and finally affordability as we are almost 20-30% cheaper than the top competitors who can compare to us in terms of quality or features so these are the one we focus on. But also it is important that we are always working on making these even more as we complete our future roadmap which will put us in a different level especially with the DIY experiment builder and community platform.

Tell us a little about your team

The management team includes:
Khadija Elbedweihy, CEO
Essam ElSaadi, COO
Safiya Elbedweihy, CSO
Alaa Elbedweihy, CMO
Alden Zecha, Board Director

There is myself as CEO, and I have a PhD in Human computer interaction. I have always been focused on the research behind how technology can help solve challenges in the education sector and enabling equal opportunities for students everywhere. I also founded Skolera ( which is basically a user-oriented unified learning platform focusing on Education 4.0 pillars; while aiming at providing the best user experience for all stakeholders.

Essam is an experienced operations & business development manager with a consistent track record of successfully employing best business practices that improve efficiency, provide market needs whilst increasing productivity. Having a professional attitude and an ability to be flexible and handle change in a positive manner.

The team met as we (3 sisters) were raised and brought up on the belief that education is the solution for every other problem. We always worked and focused on knowledge transfer (as two of us are academics) and then founded Skolera and PraxiLabs and Essam joined us as I knew him for years (studying at the same college and his wife was my teacher assistant).

We then met Alden last year as he was our advisor in Changelabs accelerator and he loved what we did and wanted to continue the journey with us so now he is a board member and working closely with us to find ways to expand and increase our reach in the US market.

I believe our team has the ability to get PraxiLabs to be the top platform for virtual STEM education because of the following:

I have over 10 years in the education and academic field and more than 5 years in managing edtech startups; Essam has over 16 years of experience in operations and business development; Alaa has a PhD in marketing and over 6 years in helping edtech startups build their brand, recognition and increase their awareness and exposure through digital marketing; and finally Safiya has over 15 years in SW and SaaS sales in MEA in different industries with targets overachievement and success track record, worked in public and multinational, studying Executive MBA in London Business School.

With the rest of the team who have years of experience in edtech, marketing and sales but also subject matter experts and gamers, all have passion and commitment to making science education accessible to millions of students. Not only ours and the team’s experience and passion but our persistence that enabled us and our brand to compete equally with our top competitor which raised more than $100M and was founded in 2011 and we were able to reach where we are now in less than half this period and less than 2% of their investment.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

We have long and short term plans and aspirations for PraxiLabs but as mentioned earlier, our goal and vision is to be the hub for virtual STEM education not only in Africa but around the world. Briefly some of the milestones we have now ahead of us include:

  • Reaching 10X growth in the next 3 years

  • Staying ahead of our competitors by constant research and adapting to and adopting new technologies but always with the user/student as our focus to provide the best and most intuitive experience together with improving their learning outcomes

  • Expanding into new markets and countries especially in Africa and the US

  • Growing our portfolio and expanding into new subject areas

  • Developing simulations for K-12 school levels

  • Having our platform as a whole provide and support accessibility needs to enable every student equal opportunity to a better education

  • Adding more languages to our platform as needed

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

I believe it is not just about being an entrepreneur but it is being one working towards a vision. Waking up everyday knowing that our platform is being used by more and more students and professors around the world and believing that we are enabling and empowering them especially the ones who are not lucky enough to do the lab work in person and we are giving them better STEM education, that is just really enough for me and for our team. We feel inspired and proud whenever we get a thank you message from a professor saying that he/she was able to teach his students the course experiments and let them experience everything although they were not able to afford having a real lab.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

My advice would be: “Be passionate about what you do and work hard with a focus on your goals but also be modest enough to accept ideas and advice and try to get a chance to join accelerators early on but the right one for you, not just any one. You might be looking for fund but mentorship and the right network is equally important. Finally, as I always say and as I was raised: Dreams are not achieved through wishful thinking but rather they are attained by hard work and effort.”

To find out more about the inspirational work of Khadija and her team at PraxiLabs, send an email to: or visit the company’s social media pages:


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