Festus Amoye lost both of his parents in high school, but they always instilled in him the importance of education. Amoye’s parents were some of his biggest role models after they migrated to the United States in the 80s from Nigeria to provide a better life for him and his siblings. After his parents passed away Amoye and his siblings leaned on each other,“and then I had this personal struggle once they were gone actually trying to take steps in a system that they weren’t even familiar with,” Festus said. 

Festus Amoye was six years old during a family portrait with his siblings. Credit: Festus Amoye

Even though the journey had several hurdles, Amoye can say he has made his parents proud. Following his high school career he decided to join the military and help others through youth ministry. Amoye quickly realized his passion for learning especially regarding topics of college and career readiness. 

This Nigerian-American was determined to succeed early in life and found his calling through his passions of education and helping others while obtaining his bachelors degree. During his college career, “We did a conference called School Days where we tried to take some of the confusion out of the college and career process. And so from that idea and those initial conferences it led to me writing the book Laddering a Success. Then through inspiration and meeting other people it led to the educational technology platform.”

While leading the pact on forming an educational technology platform Amoye also helped his siblings along the way. “We faced a lot of hardship after my parents passed away and so I wanted to set a foundation for my younger siblings. So in setting that foundation part of that was getting a formal education, but then also informal education. I think what I’ve learned is that both of those are kind of almost equally important,” Amoye said. 

Amoye received his associates degree in education and a bachelors in psychology. He quickly learned that informal education and formal education carry the same weight when you’re trying to reach true success in our society. Amoye emphasized, “If you don’t have the informal education: how to create a vision, how to plan, how to structure your life, time management, those different types of things. It becomes very, very difficult to succeed.”

Amoye speaks with parents on how to re-enter the workforce during a laddering for success event. Credit: Festus Amoye

In 2015 Amoye used his informal and formal education to plant the seeds for his company Laddering Your Success. Two years later Amoye decided to write a book about how to reach success. While he was able to start the company from the ground up he says it was not easy, “As a bootstrap company, there’s not any real funding. So we took out a loan and we wanted to make the company not so debt heavy as we got to the market portion,” Amoye said. 

Although Amoye didn’t have the initial funding necessary he decided to bet on himself and take out a loan. “While building tech companies, you can have a great idea. But for at least from what I’ve seen, if you’re not in one of those circles where people just give you money for your idea, you have to build the idea and proof out the idea before anybody wants to really support you,” Amoye added.. 

Against all odds, the Laddering Your Success team has created an application that makes the process of creating lesson plans much easier for teachers. “The application is basically a supplemental learning platform, so it helps teachers to lesson plan in 30 to 50 percent less time than they normally spend. So that allows them to spend more time focusing on them and their self-care and then their students. The other thing that the app does, is it allows teachers to differentiate learning for individual students,” Amoye explains. The application can be purchased by individual teachers and/or schools can purchase the application. 

Although the pandemic halted the initial release of the application, Laddering Your Success is working to stay on a strict timeline and preparing to take their product to market. 

Along the way Amoye has helped several hundred students enroll into college and other avenues of career development. Although the steps to build his company have not been easy he says he won’t stop. “I feel like God, like he really just said, I’m the person to do it. And so because of that, I don’t lose faith. I don’t lose hope. I don’t lose motivation. I just keep going forward,” Amoye said.