Is your business portable? - Part 1
We asked expat business owners in Shanghai if they had been able to successfully keep the business they created in China once they relocated to another country. Margarita Lukavenko from EduHarbor shares her experience.
Until not long ago I was based in Shanghai - the city I called ‘home’ for over 7 years. There I developed my professional educator career by co-establishing an offline K-12 education consulting company. I always knew that at some point I would move to another country, and it would be close to impossible to run that business from a distance. That’s why I later redirected my career to an online education business and opened EduHarbor and EduMatters, an EdTech consulting company. While my company is still located in China, I myself relocated to Germany in the second part of 2019. I was confident that I could continue developing my business from anywhere, as long as I had Internet access.
My company is both product-based, with the Global Competence Online Project for teenagers, and service-based, with public schools and educational bureaus teacher’s training and school consultations on teaching methodologies and management. While I had to let go of the public school teachers training when I left China, I am still training teachers online, as well as providing consulting services to international companies so they can enter the challenging China education market. And I continued to run the Global Competence Online Project: a project for students all over the world where within one month they create an educational game that is later sent to underprivileged schools and communities around the world.
Students develop not only project management skills but learn about global issues, develop empathy, build a global network of international friends, and create their first product that goes directly to users. We've recently started a free online community to support teens during the lockdown by running regular Global Teen MeetUps.
The main challenge we had when taking business out of China was switching from offline / online work to fully online work. Managing all the network, the educators community that I had started in China two years before leaving, conducting all the meetings online was a challenge for me and for many of the partners that I used to meet face-to-face. Some partnerships did not survive the change of context but that’s alright, after all, my goal was to create a business that is portable while all the parties are satisfied and benefit fairly from our work together.
My advice to anyone who’s developing a business or creating a product would be to always know where you’d like to take it in the future, make a plan to take it there, and stick to it, while staying agile.
About Margarita Lukavenko | Founder of EduMatters and EduHarbor
Margarita is an educator and founder of EduMatters and EduHarbor. She develops a global community of educators via an online platform www.eduharbor.com and works on providing global quality education solutions through an online Global Competence Project where students design games that are sent for free to communities in need all over the world. Margarita is a UN Teach SDGs Ambassador (Sustainable Development Goals) and a National Geographic Certified Educator.