Schools Websites – the Galway headquartered business has been brought into the limelight for job creation in a recession, through the TV3 competition ‘Every Job Counts’ where it featured on TV3 last week. This business specialises in developing website systems which are designed to meet the very specific needs of school principals, teachers, parents and pupils, as well as reducing time spent on administration and organisation of school management activities through their unique student management system. The idea originated when two entrepreneurial minds saw a niche in the market and in 2009 Schools Websites was founded.
The two business partners Jeremy Pagden and Paddy Tamplin, having worked together locally, could see a synergy between them to set up an enterprise together. Seeing the downturn just around the corner, they used their combined transferrable skills, experience and business expertise to drive the idea to fruition and in the space of two years now provide employment for 10 people including themselves. This is a real life story where the success so far is both motivating and inspirational.
From basic beginnings of running operations from the spare bedroom with a mobile phone, laptop and broadband connection, Schools Websites soon needed to move to their Sean Mulvoy Road premises as the team grew. The ‘Schools Websites’ brand was officially launched at the IPPN conference in January 2010. In April 2010, they took on their first full-time employee - Sarah Anne Bennett, a graduate of environmental science. As business quickly picked up, her role as telesales operator evolved into customer services and team leader. In May 2010, the part-time role of web developer was created, fortunately Mark Aherne soon went full time and is currently lead developer. In September 2010, with assistance from the Galway City and County Enterprise Board four more jobs were created, enabling ‘Schools Websites’ to hire two field sales executives and two telesales representatives. Currently there are 10.5 jobs.
In the running for the €50,000 prize package offered by TV3, Mr Pagden and Mr Tamplin are optimistic at their prospects and can see how beneficial such a prize could be in elevating their brand profile. This would definitely strengthen the position of their existing team and further job creation potential. They were also recently featured on George Hook’s Saturday morning programme Kick Start Your Business on Newstalk where George commented ‘We have a problem, they seem to be doing everything right !’. This also gave business a great boost and they could see their website hits spike following the programme.
Schools Websites is dedicated to websites for schools and is constantly developing its model to provide useful resources and training for teachers using the web service.
Jeremy Pagden, managing director of Schools Websites, originally from Zimbabwe began his working life as a music teacher and along his interesting career path progressed to sales for IBM, headed up an IT training Institute in Kuwait, managed an environmental consultancy company in Saudi Arabia, moved into quality control management in medical devices in Galway and more recently the construction sector. Somehow he managed to find time to complete studies in an MBA with IT Management as well as meeting a woman from Tipperary while teaching in the Middle East, who is responsible for bringing him to Ireland. They are now married, living nine years in Galway with their two children. Mr Pagden’s background in education provides a huge insight into the life of schools and adds to his understanding of the services needed.
Paddy Tamplin is operations director and production manager with Schools Websites. Dublin born, his background as a Senior Outdoor Education Instructor helps in the understanding of how schools work and class organisation. Paddy built up a portfolio of experience from roles as warehouse manager, sales executive, senior buyer, internal quality auditor and health and safety – which provide a great basis for his current responsibilities. Mr Tamplin has been living with his wife and two children in Galway for the last eleven years.
The ‘Every Job Counts’ campaign is being organised by TV3 to provide a source of encouragement and support to those business people both big and small, who believe the future is bright and there is a way forward.
The most inspiring stories will be selected by the programme producers every day during April and broadcast on air. The TV3 competition continues for the month of April when a shortlist of four companies will be judged by an independent panel of Irish business people comprising of Paddy Power, Head of Communications Paddy Power, Mary McKenna, CEO of Tour America and Amanda Pratt, creative director of Avoca. The winners will be awarded a TV3 advertising and promotional package worth €50,000.