Being a member of Generation Z, you may think that starting up a business in Hong Kong is a mission impossible. But difficulties have not stopped Tommie Lo, founder and chief executive of Prologue Online Tutorial, from pursuing his dream.
After graduating from Queen's College, Lo pursued his studies abroad. In order to meet the high living costs overseas, he worked as a private tutor and often had to travel by train to his students’ homes in other cities. He found that after the regular school hours the children felt tired in his tutorials and quickly lost attention. He needed to repeat what he said over and over again.
Then, once on his way back from Manchester, he came up with the idea of providing online tutorial services for learners. The services would be different from traditional tutorial classes and the online lessons would be available to kids anytime and anywhere. When all the traditional tutorial centres have closed, students could still get access to the website and learn by themselves.
After careful consideration, he forwent his prestigious PhD degree at London School of Economics and Political Science and came back to Hong Kong to start up his business, Prologue.
By using new technologies developed by themselves, he and his friends soon set up the first online learning platform of their career. But the road to success was long and arduous.
“Starting up our own business is no romance!” Lo said jockingly.
Three months into their business, they found the website was not as user-friendly as they had hoped and users did not stay on the web pages for as long as they were expected to. They tried to improve the website by seeking help from others. It was a hard time for the young company and finally some of the co-founders gave up.
But Lo insisted on continuing, as he considered running Prologue neither as a business nor as an investment – for him, it was a mission. Thanks to feedback from students using the website, finally he redesigned it in such a way that the webpages became user-friendly for both tutors and students.
Through offering tutorial classes on an online platform, Prologue raises the spatial mobility of studying and enhances students’ enjoyment of learning.
The first company to provide online tutorial services in Hong Kong, Prologue targets local high school students. It has also attracted the attention of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP). In April 2012, Prologue was chosen by HKSTP as one of the start-up companies for the Incu-Tech Programme. Receiving funding and access to skilled labour from HKSTP, Prologue has turned itself into a successful company with more than 55,000 registered students now using its services.
With more youngsters having the opportunity to receive good education, more hopes and dreams are being created. Prologue, the pioneer of online tutorial services, is not only a revolution in education, but also keeps on igniting the dreams of others.
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