Budding Businesses: Back to School SMEs

POSTED: 1st September 2015
IN: Business news

Over recent years, schools have begun to embrace modern teaching methods in order to improve student engagement, increase interactivity and equip their pupils with knowledge and skills they can use in their future careers.

In response to a desire to introduce innovative technologies into the classroom, an increasing number of companies are emerging with ideas to better the learning experience. With the new school year just a few weeks away, Aldermore looks at five small businesses that provide educators with valuable and different learning tools.






Founded in 2003 as an online learning company, Webanywhere provides more than 3 million users with flexible and effective e-learning platforms designed for both students and teachers. In 2013, Managing Director Sean Gilligan not only created 60 new jobs in Bradford, but also appeared as a guest on BBC Breakfast News highlighting the importance of encouraging children to have an entrepreneurial mind-set from an early age.


In the last 12 months, children as young as five have started to learn programming skills in the classroom as part of an initiative to bridge the STEM skills gap. As a result, numerous companies across the country have begun to look for ways in which they can help young people to learn coding.

London-based training company Bermotech believes that the best programmers start learning to code at an early age. With a wealth of training courses aimed at students aged 9 – 15, it has enabled thousands of children to learn everything from Java programming to iPhone app development.


Play, as well as learning, is equally as important for children and, with a passion for improving play areas and encouraging children to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, Timberplay has been transforming unused spaces and making school playgrounds more exciting for over 14 years. The company boasts a team of creative designers and landscape architects with extensive experience in building adventure playgrounds and installing outdoor gyms.

Magic Whiteboard

Dragon’s Den winners Neil and Laura Westwood were inspired to start their company, Magic Whiteboard, after Neil, a trainer for the NHS, grew tired of carrying a flipchart stand around numerous hospital wards. Keen to design a versatile and lightweight alternative, the Magic Whiteboard, which can be rolled up and easily transported was born. It is now used in schools across the United Kingdom.

When Magic Whiteboard began exporting their products to France earlier this year, Neil spoke to Aldermore about the factors to consider before entering into overseas trade.


Paralogic’s founder Richard Bacon believes that in order to capture the attention of students, it’s vital that schools embrace new technology such as 3D printers. With the help of ‘small and reasonably priced’ 3D printers, Richard is confident that educators can ‘stay ahead of the curve’ and make their lessons more exciting and engaging for their pupils.

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