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We Chat to Ethical Online Spanish Language School
by Startacus Admin
Oh, how we love it when good business and social responsibility come together.
Phiroza Marker is a Member of our community and is also the co-founder of Spanish Marks, an ethical online Spanish language school which connects tutors and students via online classrooms from anywhere in the world.
It is an ethically-focused enterprise which helps to support tutor's communities in Guatemala, with a portion of the profits promised to go towards creating and supporting social projects. We had a chat with Phiroza to learn a little more about what she is up to.
Hi Phiroza, first off tell us a bit about yourself?
I have always wanted to set up my own business. In 2014, I walked away from my job in financial advisory to set up Spanish Marks - a consciously-minded Spanish language school. The school is co-founded by myself and my brother, Rustom.
What exactly does Spanish Marks do?
We provide online Spanish language tuition to individuals and businesses. Students from the UK are connected to our native Spanish-speaking tutors in Guatemala via online classrooms. This is a disruptive approach to education since it challenges the traditional in-person tutor format. It offers students greater flexibility in terms of lesson location since they can be taken from anywhere with an internet connection. The absence of a physical classroom also means we can keep overheads low and pass on the benefits to students through low lesson prices.
Can you explain the ethical focus of Spanish Marks?
From the start we wanted to be an ethically focussed school which gives back to our teachers' communities in Guatemala. It is a country which is rich in culture but suffers from one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. We use part of our profits from our Spanish lessons to set up projects in Guatemala which tackle these important issues.
These have included partnering with the charity, Asociacion Fatima to build a website so that they can recruit volunteers and grow organically. We have also partnered with local schools, running monthly writing competitions. We donate funds to the winning school, which is then used to purchase much-needed school equipment.
Over the course of creating the business what would you say has been your breakthrough moment?
Being signed onto the employees benefits platform of KPMG - a UK-based professional services firm with 11,652 employees. We started trading less than 2 years ago, and are already making a profit with an increasingly growing student base of both individuals and businesses seeking Spanish tuition.
Finally, what are your future plans for Spanish Marks?
Later this year will see the launch of our international work experience placements, which sends volunteers from the UK to charitable organisations in Guatemala. The placements will be tailored to the volunteer's interests and offered in the fields of human rights, health, education or environment. As a school, we would also include pre-departure Spanish lessons which would be of great benefit since Guatemala is a Spanish-speaking country!
Thanks for the chat Phiroza and best of luck with Spanish Marks in the future!
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