‘If you want to start a business, you really should,’ says ed-tech entrepreneur Paul McElvaney (video)

16 Aug 2013

Paul McElvaney, co-founder, Learning Pool

Not only has Paul McElvaney co-founded a successful e-learning company, he’s also a key driver of the tech start-up scene in Derry. Here, he discusses Learning Pool’s open source, community-led approach to ed-tech and has some encouraging words for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Learning Pool is one of the largest e-learning communities in the UK with over 500 customisable modules serving over 1m customers. In the past five years, the company has saved the UK public sector about stg£100m by providing not just a paid-for service but also support for a community that can share ideas in an open source environment.

The significance of open source in ed-tech is apparent in what McElvaney calls “the MOOC phenomenon”. That is, the growing popularity of massive open online courses, which have even been adopted by top-level Ivy League universities in the US.

Future Human

McElvaney is not only committed to improving the public sector through e-learning, he’s also dedicated to establishing Derry as a tech hub on the island of Ireland through his work with Digital Derry and the annual CultureTech festival, taking place this September.

While the success of Learning Pool doesn’t come without plenty of hard work, McElvaney – who writes a blog called Idiot Entrepreneur – truly believes that anyone with a good idea can make it in the tech industry, and he encourages them to make a go of it rather than living to regret it.

Look out for Paul McElvaney and Learning Pool co-founder Mary McKenna talking about Derry’s growth as a digital hub in this weekend’s Sunday Times.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic