On the Promoting Enterprise portal we are talking to the entrepreneurs on the 33 Under 33 list. This Secrets of Success initiative aims to shine the spotlight on a selection of successful young entrepreneurs, documenting their stories in an effort to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Today it is the turn of young Serbian entrepreneur Sonja Vuković.
Tell us about your business
Učiteljica Educational Center is a start-up with a vision to enable a better approach to primary education for as many children as possible. Our services and products provide an opportunity for pupils to have personalised and playful classes, tailored to their needs, possibilities, and interests. On the other hand, it is an opportunity for teachers all over the country to work with children all over the world and even to be able to work in the area of their university degree, but on better terms.
Where did you get the idea from?
This idea came to me at the beginning of quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools were closed and pupils had to follow the lessons through a national TV programme. As I saw many flaws in this solution, I found myself trying to find a way to help them. Therefore, I offered my help by working with pupils online through video calls and being able to have a personalised approach to each of the children I tutored.
How old were you when you first decided you would start your own business?
I never thought that I would start my own business. I always thought that teaching a class in school is the professional limit of one teacher. I realized that this would be my business three months after starting it, and I started it in the 26th year of my life.
How did you get it off the ground?
We shared our story on LinkedIn and one day I received a message from the HR manager of an IT company in my inbox. She suggested that we should collaborate and the main idea was that the classes that we provide could be one of the benefits offered to the employees of the company and their children. That was the moment that changed my perspective when looking at our potential, and ideas just started popping up.
Who did you turn to for help?
From the beginning, my husband was my biggest help and support. He was the one who made the first website, who helped the story become viral, and who helped me with his example of a great entrepreneur. In addition, great support for our development came from the educators who trusted me at the very start and joined the team, doing an excellent job.
Describe some of the obstacles you faced as a young person starting out in this business.
All of the obstacles we have faced are connected to the experience and our learning process. Maybe it would have been easier to have someone with experience during those moments, but on the other hand, those obstacles were great lessons for us.
How do you define success?
In my opinion, success is when you find a job where you don't feel like you're working.
What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?
The most challenging aspect we have encountered was to ensure that nine months of income covered 12 months of expenses.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The most rewarding part of our journey is happy and fulfilled pupils, satisfied parents, and motivated teachers who work with them.
What are the future goals of your business, and how will you go about achieving them?
Our future goals are: to make an online educational platform that helps pupils learn according to their capabilities, to make a children's school of entrepreneurship (for which we are looking for partners among corporations and large companies), to make new products that would help pupils improve their skills while having fun and making educational webinars for teachers and parents. For some of them, we will try to find some external partners to work with and, for others, we will proceed based on a detailed plan that we have made.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Discover your purpose and try to do the best you can to achieve your goals. Time is a very precious resource, but not if you are wasting it.
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- Publication date
- 2 February 2023
- Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
- Promoting Enterprise - categories
- Secrets of Success
- Promoting Enterprise - tags