Crowdfunded website will let parents rate and review Hong Kong kindergartens, schools, summer camps, tutors and more
Hong Kong parents can often get lost in cyberspace as they search for the best schools, classes and extracurricular activities.
Enter Whizpa, a bilingual website that will catalogue education providers in Hong Kong and allow parents to rate and review schools, athletics centres, art facilities, tutoring classes, even summer camps.
“Education in Hong Kong is big business – there are tonnes of providers out there, and as a parent, it’s almost impossible to know every single one of them,” says Whizpa founder Jennifer Chin, a mother of three.
Chin surveyed her social network, and more than 60 per cent said they found it difficult to search for and compare learning centres, with most getting recommendations by word of mouth. Whizpa will digitise these word-of-mouth reviews, giving seekers the “inside scoop” from other parents, according to Chin.
It’s a model similar to OpenRice, a review site for dining in Hong Kong, or TripAdvisor, a platform for reviews of hotels and travel experiences. Already, its grassroots-compiled database has more than 1,500 listings of learning centres alone, which can be searched by age range, location, price and category.
In just two weeks, Whizpa raised about US$3,400 of its US$5,000 funding goal through Next Chapter, a Hong Kong-based platform for women entrepreneurs. Chin says crowdfunding creates both publicity for the site and validates the business model before its launch.
After its debut, Whizpa will introduce an additional function: a third-party digital platform allowing users to shop for classes or services from education providers. Most Hong Kong providers still only accept cash, bank transfers or cheques, Chin says. “We can buy supermarket groceries online and clothing online. We can buy everything online, except education at the moment.”
In Hong Kong, parents already face a lot of stress from long working hours, tiny apartments, and students with high-stakes exams. She concludes, “I cannot solve the issue of kids being pressured with all these different activities, but at least what I can do is hopefully come up with a tool that makes it easier.”