Interviews

Why Sirius programme's iGBL chose to come to the UK

5 min read

02 April 2014

iGBL (Interactive Game-based Learning) was formed after three Oxford MBAs observed firsthand how interactive exercises and simulations used by professors in business classroom settings took the learning process to an entirely new level.

“Classmates were either on a tablet, mobile or laptop, actively discussing among groups or making production decisions via these connected devices,” CEO Shubham Anand recalls. “It was an Aha! moment for us. We noticed that there are many courses within the business curriculum that can benefit from real-time interactive engagements between groups to illustrate complex concepts. So, we decided to start a company to support professors and business instructors to use interactive tools and games for classroom teaching.”

Anand, Charlton Mak and Viktor Repetskyi’s ambitions to start a venture together were given strong boosts after receiving funding from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and gaining acceptance to UKTI’s Sirius Programme. Indeed, the UK, with its increasing focus on enhancing enterprise education, would prove a great place to start business.

“While we were already part of the Oxford and Skoll community, to gain support from UKTI was a further boost for us,” Anand continues. “With the backing of UKTI and our university, we feel confident that we can bring a revolution in enterprise education through interactive game-based learning.” 

CMO Mak futher explained that a partnership approach would allow them to flexibly work with universities, schools, NGOs and SMEs which run programmes to spark the spirit of entrepreneurship. “We have benefited from interactive learning in the business classroom and we want to join forces with partners to develop our open online platform of interactive business games and simulations”.

The Sirius Programme will put iGBL through the renowned Oxygen Accelerator, based in Birmingham, where they will receive mentorship and support. 

“We are eager to pilot test our interactive tools and games, co-created with professors at Oxford, in different market segments in the UK to get feedback. We know a lot of organisations are keen for tools and games to engage their students or staff so they can grasp better business skills. We also hope to be the trusted one-stop-shop for them.”

The international team comes from India, Ukraine and Hong Kong/Australia, and has strong backgrounds in IT, media, non-profit and education sectors. But why did such a diverse team choose the UK? To Anand, the answer is simple.

“We know our venture has huge potential for global impact. We are starting from the UK not only because we met here but more importantly because of the immense support we are getting here from all quarters. We know that UKTI has a strong presence in trade-shows such as the BETT Show and dedicated resources to help education technology start-ups expand to different countries. We know we cannot do it alone, and we are immensely grateful for the support from the Sirius Programme.”

Apart from strong backing of the Sirius Programme and their university, the iGBL team decided to start and develop their business in the UK because of UK’s unique position of being a global education hub, as well as having many vibrant start-up communities such as the Silicon Roundabout in London and the Silicon Canal in Birmingham. 

“It’s so exciting for us to be surrounded by entrepreneurs, tech experts, educators and students from the UK and all over the world. Everyone we have met so far have been so inspiring and encouraging. The enthusiasm and support definitely drives us forward.”

iGBL has been successfully chosen for The Sirius Programme, a pioneering scheme run by UKTI to bring the world’s best entrepreneurial talent to the UK. To register your interest in the Sirius Programme visit www.siriusprogramme.com or follow @SiriusProgramme on Twitter.