“Thanks to ART we have been able to invest in bringing our business to market quicker. They really grasped the concept and were fully supportive.”
‘From Cradle to Career’ is how the family behind website MyEd.com describes the essence of their research engine, which they created to help parents, young people and students to plan their pathway through education. With backgrounds in education, marketing and web development Upkar, Harmil and Eamon Pardesi are perfectly qualified to develop such a business. MyEd aims to provide a better experience for parents and students faced with the challenges of finding the right nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities and courses.
Looking for a fresh challenge, and keen to work together, the father and sons considered a variety of business options before deciding this would be the best. It has taken a number of years to fully research and develop, working part time at first then gradually becoming full time.
“Users are key,” explains Harmil. “We have held lots of focus groups with children and parents, who have told us how frustrating and time consuming they have found researching and visiting the websites for many different educational establishments in an effort to make an informed choice about the path to take. I experienced it myself when trying to find a good nursery place for my first child.”
At the outset the family invested in the business themselves, but cashflow and funding became critical in terms of development. They didn’t know how long it would take to get to launch stage and they wanted to invest in additional expert assistance to speed the process along. The MyEd website is based on a sophisticated survey review system, as well as listings and advice, so it was also necessary to encourage reviewers and find strategic partners interested in becoming listed.
“Initially we went to the banks for an overdraft facility,” says Harmil, “but they didn’t understand the concept. They were not supportive at all. My father, Upkar, knew of ART so we approached them. Martin came out to visit and could really understand the vision and the opportunity.”
A loan from ART enabled MyEd to take on a web developer, a database developer and a PR company to help raise its profile.
From there the business began to take off. The listings and reviews are growing and enquiries are coming in. “We are aiming to build the UK’s most comprehensive education website,” says Harmil, “and have lots of ideas about how we can enhance it to support people at different stages in their journey through education and into work. The trick will be selecting the best ones!”