iCert Global is the fastest growing Education Industry, both as an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) and Accredited Examination Centre (AEC).
It was a humble beginning in a 1 BHK flat. A simple flat for soaring ambition, is by itself too ambitious. The founder and CEO, Irfan Sharief, recollects being very independent as a child, and quips “I guess it’s the self-reliance more than independence - the resolve to live on my own legs. That attitude perhaps strengthened my determination in the days to come. “.
He funded his own education by moonlighting and also gained a first-hand experience of the financial hardship in educating oneself. “Surely, there has to be some other alternative to college.” That was a nagging thought that trailed him long since he successfully graduated and got to work in the education domain.
Life, in a way, is more comfortable if you are salaried because you are taken care, well-fed, sheltered and most of the needs attended. Hence this guaranteed life is a good deal for many who just settle down pushing paper and changing chairs.
On my own
Entrepreneurship is about getting out of the comfort zone and come to face those insecurities and uncertainties with grit and gumption. Irfan always wanted to go on his own, and that nagging thought turned out to be the idea incubation. He aimed at providing alternate to brick and Mortar College by enabling the internet as the medium for knowledge transfer so that education is affordable and accessible.
He decided to break free and took the plunge. Soon he checked into a 1BHK flat which would be office cum home for months. Finance was from friends and family – it was not a gamble but a tug on the back or call of the hour that he decided to pursue his passion of ‘empowerment through education.’
Vital Statistics and Vision statement
The HBR 2012 stated in their survey done globally of managers and leaders, a compelling 67% felt the need to update their middle level management programs. Alarming was the talent gap even at graduate level with only 15% of potential students emerging out successfully. What happened to the remaining? So brick and mortar colleges won’t suffice and education space offered good scope and space to grow and scale.
Present day’s statistics of the surplus funding seen in the education stream almost to $208 million dollars might appear to connect the dots but 3 years back it was sporadic, with investors hard to come by. So the first statement to be written was the vision ‘To become most preferred organization in training, consultancy.”
The target market being educated professionals, the mission was to ‘enrich education and empower professionals’. And the mission was not just to retain talent but reach out to the unemployed or fresh graduates and train them to bolster their confidence in employment pursuits. Complementing the physical classroom, online or virtual classrooms found traction and the demand for organizing classes started to grow in numbers – for primary reasons of cost and access because comparatively the cost was much lower and the flexibility to plan study more convenient.
Handful of employees and few thousands
Registered in 2013, operational by mid of 2013, with a handful of employees and few thousands in funding, the company today caters to the education needs of both corporate and individual, offering their services across 3 continents and 150 nations.
With headquarters in Houston, United States, the Company is primarily into online Professional Certification training programs and successfully trained and transformed the lives of more than 50,000 professionals.
Industry experts with years of experience and domain knowledge design and develop the course ware, ably delivered by our capable Trainers, who themselves are renowned and recognized in their sphere of work.
The most significant aspect in this business is to understand the context and customize the offering. To make the engagement more meaningful and not business-like. The takeaway of the customer should make them reconsider. That’s the bottom line.
Different People, different Demands
Not everyone who walks in wants the same, and there were instances when a group enrolled for the same course. So, different people make different demand and the ability to rise up the ask calls for a kind of agility that sets one apart.
The market is ferocious, cut-throat and competitive. It’s the fighting spirit and survival instincts that enable to keep the head above the water. The endurance and perseverance in pursuit of excellence in any engagement is the differentiating factor. “The benchmark is set by the customer or consumers of our services and we find the yardstick rising, which in a way is healthy as it increases appetite and inspires to scale further. The world today has no boundary, and competition can crop from anywhere. We have seen some rough weather and sailed smooth. So those roaring waves and soothing water are nothing new to us. If anything, they grow in intensity and gear us to be more prepared,” remarked Irfan about the competition.
He added, “Other names in the industry make us to acknowledge they too have a space to share but our uniqueness is underscored by our competency and capacity to deliver as testified by the success rate of 99% with more than 50,000 professionals from various industry verticals all across the receiving quality tutelage in clearing certification” acknowledged the founder, who is still in his late twenties and already rich in work experience with more than 8 active years to his credit.
Irfan is buoyant about the market performance and the company’s growth has been positive and quite steady at the rate of 15-20 percent and sales forecast has climbed in numbers with the coming months expected to pick up steam and move the needles.
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