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August 13, 2013


Forging ahead – The PIE profiles international education entrepreneurs

isis-education.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News recently ran an extensive article that looked at some of the ELT entrepreneurs who have built global education brands over the last few decades.

“We would never have guessed that we would be so successful with something that we simply love to do,” relates Alberto Sarno, who with his brother Marcello started Sprachcaffe – now a global language teaching empire – as a way of financing their studies and inspired by the Italian tradition of the Caffe Letterario, political debate over coffee.

Thirty years later, the two Italian brothers head up an empire that is based out of Frankfurt, Germany, where their company began. Sprachcaffe teaches around 50,000 students, has 31 schools teaching seven languages – including the GEOS chain, acquired in 2011.

The Sarnos set up their business over a kitchen table, and many others have interesting start-up tales. Richard Brown is co-founder of award-winning BROWNS English Language School in Australia, established in 2004. He explains that he and his sister sought to flee finance and find an industry that they could feel passionate about, and it was a chance encounter with a language school on holiday that set the wheels in motion for them.

He reminisces: “BROWNS started with 4 students, 2 classrooms and a grand total teaching staff of 1. My sister [co-founder] appointed herself as the Office Manager and I was Activities Manager. Unfortunately however I was made redundant from this position for not being bringing the students back to class on-time from surfing lessons.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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