How Allicia Buckle and Claire Gilbert, founders of ABC Education, survived the pandemic as a startup

ABC Education is the brainchild of both Allicia Buckle and Claire Gilbert, experienced educators by nature, entrepreneurs at heart. 

From a young age both women held great entrepreneurial spirit, each founding several businesses. However, it was ABC Education which brought the pair’s likeminded spirits together.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

With years of experience working with students, we both noticed the lack of resources that were available.

School classrooms are naturally a fast-paced environment, designed for mass consumption of information that students cannot sustainably digest.  

It didn’t take long for us to notice the struggle that both students and parents faced, preventing children from developing confidence and skills. It was during this time that ABC Education was born, an affordable tuition service designed to support children through every aspect of their learning journey. 

What’s it been like since your launch?

As any businesswoman knows, the journey is never simple. We would describe it as a rollercoaster of emotions fuelled by excitement, fear, confusion, and hope.

As you can expect these emotions have seen us through some pretty challenging obstacles. In retrospect, they are obstacles we’re now grateful for but when they were happening it seemed like our business was being shaken from all angles. 

ABC Education is fairly young; at three years old we have seen the business world through a rather scratched lens. Of course, we are talking about the dreaded C word! AHHHH, don’t worry- we’ve heard it enough times over the past three years, we won’t mention it again!

As you can relate, the past three years have thrown obstacles at every business in the world. Fortunately for us, our vision remained intact: to support as many children as we possibly can. However, it was the environment in which we delivered that vision that we drastically had to adapt to. 

How did you adapt your business during the pandemic?

As the world changed, so did our business model. With the rest of the world, we found ourselves transitioning from a physical to online environment. For the time being we said goodbye to face-to-face lessons.

As we adjusted, our students struggled. As all parents know, transitioning students from classroom to online learning brought many a tantrum into the household. For us, the physical interaction we once depended upon was taken away, requiring us to alter our teaching methods to the new needs of students.

In just a few sessions though, we saw students blossom! We couldn’t believe our eyes. Those who once found face to face tuition tiring, due to their neuro diversities or different learning styles, were coming alive.

As one phase of our business ends, another blooms. Within just a few weeks of adjustment, we were able to successfully offer tuition via our interactive online sessions.

What was the move to online learning like?

The rollercoaster of emotions was fully fuelled by hope, as we both saw a new catalyst which could deliver our vision. Without this ‘adjustment’ (thanks to the pandemic) we wouldn’t have realised the power of online tuition.

At ABC Education our favourite quote is ‘rejection is re-direction’ and re-direction is where our online tuition took us. Online tuition became a blessing for both students and tutors; tutors were able to teach without travel disruptions and parents were able to save money with lower cost lessons. What seemed like a nightmare at the time, has pathed the path to our new way of operating. 

What does the future hold for you?

As the cost of living now rises – we know… from one global nightmare to the next! Our online lessons provide a solution to many households. We can successfully align with our founding goal of providing accessible support, whilst parents can continue to help their children through every aspect of their child’s learning. 

What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs?

If we can convey one message from our story, it’s to hold onto the burning fire you have within you. The vision that keeps you motivated when all you really feel like doing is crawling into bed.

For it is that vision which will lead you through the challenges with a clear and hopeful mindset. Remember, what seems like an obstacle at first is actually directing your business towards your goal. 

ABC Education