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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Wong

Teach it Forward

When I first started EngagePlus, one of the things that crossed my mind was - would it not be awesome to be able to create a business that not only is able to disrupt education profitably and sustainably, but also add social impact?

Arguably by saving the entire EngagePlus hours of time through our ecosystem platform, one could say that the reallocation of resources benefited students greatly. But I knew it needed to do more.

The inspiration struck one day as I was booking flights and it told me that all flights were full and that I would be waitlisted. It occurred to me then and there that educational classrooms exhibited a similar concept, in that there was a concept of capacity.

Many classrooms have a ton of spare space especially here in Hong Kong (where notably space is quite scarce!) whilst lessons occur. Rarely were all these “spots” filled and like airline or hotels, the spare capacity was going to waste.

Then I extrapolated on the waitlist idea. What if. What if instead the waitlist was filled with a group of disadvantaged children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford these classes? Economically surely there was a justification in doing so such that marginal benefit would be equal to at least or greater than marginal cost of running the lessons (which was 0). It would be a win win situation.

Even if the centres were paid at least $1 HKD more to subsidise a disadvantaged child they would attain revenue that otherwise would have been forgone.

On the flip side, the child was able to attend a lesson (whether it be math, chess, drawing etc) that they never would have access to.

It was then Engage Bookings was born. Initially built as a matching engine, it would power up centres to be able to stream their spare capacity lessons online for normal business operations. On top of that, if within 24 hours there was still capacity, we worked with NGO’s to create a waitlist of disadvantaged children who would then be matched with the spare capacity!

The roll out has been relatively fresh with many of our clients taking on board this amazing initiative to ‘Teach It Forward’. It’s at this point we would like to say a huge thank you to the NGO’s we worked with including Conrad College, Benji, alongside our many generous clients who then in turn graciously allow the kids at their centres!

To top off the cherry on the cake, a large chunk of the proceeds from the EngageBooking system are then distributed to building schools in Africa!


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