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Onwards e-learning firm lands €4m deal

Education firm Onwards Learning has signed deals that give it major access to 30 million English language learners in China.

The digital-learning newbie has won contracts with two Chinese distributors that link to the Chinese Ministry of Education's CERNET – an academic network of 2,000 education institutions and around 30 million adult learners of English at third-level and in business and professions.

"The deals are conservatively worth €4m in revenue to the company over the next three years," said founding partner Carlo Crighton.

The six-month-old company runs LearnOnEnglish.com, an online portal that brings together English learning services from big colleges, public bodies and corporates for adult learners. China is its first market, with plans to expand into three new Asia territories before 2015. The portal will launch in the next six weeks.

China is a top buyer of digital English-language learning products, with around 30,000 organisations and companies offering private English classes in a market worth close to €2.5bn.

Onwards Learning has offices in Dublin and in Beijing, with 30 staff attached.

"We're talking to investors here and in Asia, seeking to raise first-phase funding of €300,000," said Mr Crighton.

Irish Independent