Success story: Elevate Education
EMDG helps Elevate Education achieve global growth
Elevate Education’s CEO Douglas Barton is aiming big and doing things differently. Like most savvy entrepreneurs, he has realised the potential of taking a great product and moulding it to suit international markets. And in the case of Elevate Education, their education seminars are now being run in schools all across the world.
As a small – medium business, funding has played a big role in Elevate’s international expansion. Mr Barton recognises and emphasises that the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) has made expansion into foreign markets much more feasible. In Elevate’s case, EMDG has been critical in their first two years of development overseas.
“We were always going to look internationally, but like many companies it was a matter of timing. Without a doubt EMDG has been a big factor in our expansion, because we’ve been able to expand more quickly than we otherwise would have,” said Mr Barton.
Elevate, which Mr Barton started in 2001, has grown from revenues in the “five-digit” range to $3.1 million in 2012. The business, which teaches learning strategies such as study skills, time management and exam techniques to high school students, has had great market feedback – in Australia and overseas – from schools and teachers owing to its relevance and resonance with students. The business now teaches students in more than 600 state, private and Catholic schools in Australia, as well as at 190 schools in the UK (since entering the market in 2013) and 30 private schools in South Africa. Elevate is now evaluating US as the next market to enter.
The seminars are conducted by sending young presenters (typically a university student) into classrooms to talk to students on a range of topics including time management, how to study and exam preparation techniques. By using presenters who have recently been through the experience themselves, the company manages to increase the level of student engagement.
The lessons of that presentation are reinforced by the pupil’s regular teacher, who gets feedback and ongoing resources to follow up in the classroom.
Working across a broad cross section of economic and demographic profiles has enabled Elevate to select best practices that are used consistently by high performing students in different states, territories and countries, and to share the insights with students. This research based methodology has seen Elevate partner with some of the world’s top performing schools.“We have been fortunate enough to get recognised by media for our work and growth in recent times. We get asked for advice regarding international expansion, and my first suggestion is to look at EMDG and Austrade.” Mr Barton said. It has made a world of difference for Elevate.