Daijiworld Media Network – Dubai
Dubai, Nov 30: Craig Fernandes from Mangaluru, has been featured in Forbes 30 under 30's 2023 edition earlier this month.
A 27-year-old NRI based in Dubai, and originally from Mangaluru, Craig grew up in a small apartment in Sharjah that cost AED 6000 per year in rent. He attended and completed high school in Dubai, and today runs one of the UAE's hottest young start-ups valued at $6 million.
Craig is the co-founder and CEO of SecureMyScholarship.com, an edtech platform that is on a mission to make education more accessible by connecting students with scholarships at universities around the world. Since its launch in November 2021, the platform has scaled to $1.5 million in revenue, grown its team to 27 members, and raised $1 million in capital at a $6 million valuation. To date, the platform has disbursed over $7.3 million in scholarships to students from middle class and working class families.
Craig’s mother's family is from Bendore, with some of his family members also residing in Derebail. His great grand uncle was Bishop Victor Rosario Fernandes, who was the bishop of Mangalore diocese from 1930 to 1950.
On what inspired him to begin the start-up, Craig says, “Top-class education is expensive today. Tuition at a top university around the world is nothing less than $20K per year, and because of this so many students from middle class and working class families are priced out of quality higher education. These students are ambitious and aspirational, but the only thing holding them back is money, and we do not think that is fair. We wanted to build a platform that could help make education affordable for all students, and that is why we built SecureMyScholarship. I myself grew up in a middle class family, and had to rely on scholarships to go to university abroad. Without those scholarships, I would not have been able to study at the university I went to, and like me there are hundreds of thousands of other students who also rely on the same.”
Craig has delivered talks at multiple schools and universities in Dubai and abroad. In the UAE, he has spoken at almost every major university, such as the University of Wollongong, Middlesex and Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. In India, he has delivered talks (via zoom) at Christ University, Hindu College, and soon will be taking part in a panel discussion at XLRI Jamshedpur. Craig has also been a panel speaker at Seamless DXB Conference 2022 and been the main speaker at a KEL Dubai event in addition to being featured on CNN, Tech Radar, Mashable , Esquire, Entrepreneur, Arabian Business, Gulf News, Your Story, and over 40 other media and PR publications.
Craig has won accolades like Future Star award winner at Arabian Business awards (2019), Young CEO of the Year at CEO Excellence Awards (2021), and Forbes 30 under 30 (2023). While his first start-up Lock&Stock, was named Disruption of the Year at Gulf Capital Awards (2020), SecureMyScholarship was named Deloitte Fast 50 companies to watch list (2023) (under the name of its parent company - Lock&Stock Technologies FZCO).