Business

Sunday 25 June 2017

Teenage trio with 30 As between them crack Junior Cert with exam prepping site

The enterprising teens have an eye on expanding the service to the Leaving Cert when they complete it.

(Left to right) J-C Learn founders: Johnnie Bell, Eamonn Flannery and Jack Manning.
(Left to right) J-C Learn founders: Johnnie Bell, Eamonn Flannery and Jack Manning.
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Most teenagers would be forgiven for taking a break after finishing the Junior Cert, but after scooping a student enterprise award a break seems far from the thinking of the founders of J-C Learn.

Set up by South Dublin, Clonkeen College trio Jack Manning, Johnnie Bell, and Eamon Flannery, J-C Learn is a subscription-based learning service that aims to strip out as much irrelevant content as possible.

Manning said the firm set about making the website, which has 400 subscribers, after the three 16-year-olds took home a combined haul of 30 As.

“We came up with it last year when we were doing the Junior Cert. We were looking online and there was nothing to help except for small teacher websites with very little content.

The J-C Learn website
The J-C Learn website

“After getting our results in September we thought we would find a  way of fixing that problem and using all of our notes and our exam answers and our personal study tips,” Manning said.

J-C Learn charges €15 a year for access to exam paper answers, notes and advice all generated by the Dublin trio.

Despite the company being both fresh-faced in terms of its age and its founders’ age, Manning says its number of members has fallen short of what they had expected.

“We have about 400 members on it, which is probably a little bit less than we were expecting but we’re obviously expecting a lot more to sign up in the coming months.”

Manning believes J-C Learn hits a niche in the midst of preparation for the Junior Cert, which he says is largely predictable.

“The syllabuses are all the same and the exams are all the same. It’s a pretty select few who do sell content and it’s mostly big book publishers who charge €12 to €15 per subject for one revision book, which is not really worth it.

“Whereas ours is much cheaper and we think the content is as good in terms of quality. We had experience reading all the exam books and all the textbooks last year and the textbooks were too difficult to study from because they were too thick,” Manning said.

After picking up first prize in the senior category of the Dun Laoighre-Rathdown Student Enterprise awards, J-C Learn now has its eyes set on the national finals in Croke Park on April 20.

The J-C Learn website
The J-C Learn website

J-C Learn’s three teenage founders have yet to take money out of the firm, which becomes all the more impressive when since they developed the majority of the site after coming home from school, working from 4pm to half 12 to get it up and running prior to the Christmas exams.

The company is well placed to stand the test of time with a consistent flow of students coming through the exams each year.

“It’s been pretty low cost with just website hosting, Facebook ads, and online hosting.

“Our target audience is parents and mothers aged between 40 and 55 and then we are also trying to get engagement on posts from teenagers and students who would be interested in content on the site.

“There’s always students studying and there’s always parents pushing for their students to be successful,” the J-C Learn founder said.

Now in fourth year, the trio still holds a lot of relevant empathy with students currently going through the Junior Cert, something that seems key to its success.

Confident, young and with eyes set on a leaving cert version, it seems these guys have nailed being a student in the 21 century.

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