There is an old saying that good lawyers run away from risks, while good businessmen run towards them. The same approach is also found in some thrilling sports like surfing and skiing where the inherent risks test a person’s pertinacity. But for James Egan, his young days as an aspiring lawyer set his path on a different course. A course wherein risks were the cornerstones of implicit confidence and sheer determination. While studying law, certain factors perplexed him so virulent that he envisaged a whole new sphere of life. "I began to wonder why the fees were so prohibitive and why socio-economic circumstances had such an impact on people's access to education. I went about my career and later on had the opportunity to focus on online education. That was in the very early stages of online education circa 2008. I spent four years building online educational solutions through trial and error before deciding to go it alone in 2012. The decision to embark upon this entrepreneurial journey seemed more viable due to my belief that higher education should be available to all at a lower cost," starts James Egan, CEO & Founder.
Engrossed by this vision, James was quick to realize that adopting cutting-edge technology can help him actualize his dreams at scale. "For example, tech allowed Shaw Academy to go from teaching hundreds of students to millions of new students when we launched our proprietary educational platform – Phoenix in 2017. In business, you must have outcome-based goals, or else it is just simply an idea. In the case of Shaw Academy launching the Phoenix platform, we knew that we had the technological capability to serve this purpose," illustrates James.
"It all started with digitizing and modernizing the classroom concepts. A little bit of disruption was although needed. Online education is usually one-way. Users passively consume information that they download. We did not want this to be the case. We wanted to create an interactive experience, and students who attend lessons with Shaw Academy can direct questions to their classmates, support advisors, or the Shaw Academy AI that currently answers 86% of all the questions." Shaw Academy focuses on developing practical skills and makes courses available to those looking to start a new career, or for somebody who had just started their own business but requires operational skills. The courses offered by the Shaw Academy cover topics including finance, photography, health and fitness, marketing, technology, design, beauty, music, business and the English language. The company’s mission is to empower students with the skills they need to follow any career path in a flexible and affordable manner.Shaw Academy achieves this by leveraging the potential of online learning and automation to match education with the pace of students lives. Currently, Shaw Academy has almost helped 20 Million new users in 2020 itself.
Furthermore, Shaw Academy began 2020 pre-Covid on an upward trajectory, seeing a surge of registrations which initially brought some problems but also created opportunity. At the end of February 2020, Shaw Academy had seven customer representatives that proved quite a challenge when they started over 1 million registrations a month, signing up for courses. "We immediately looked to address this gap and grew this team to over 100 people who have now dramatically reduced ticket opening times and are also proactively solving problems. We also had an opportunity to bring more content to the market and launched over 40 new courses."
Looking ahead, Shaw Academy wants to be the torchbearer of this industry and continue enlightening people with education. The main difference between our competitors and us is that we offer data at lower usage fees. "Accessibility, affordability, and expansion must be the opportunities, we must seize and focus on in the online learning industry over the next couple of years," finishes, James.