"Howard was more than our accountant, he became our strategic adviser, helping us think corporate and on a long term scale."
Katie Krais, Co-Founder and Managing Director, JK Educate
At JK Educate their mission is simple, to empower parents and children in their education journey by providing bespoke advice, tutoring and support.
Founders Katie Krais and Lorrae Jaderberg, began working together as primary school teachers in 1999. Fast forward to 2022, and Katie now acts as Co-Founder and Managing Director of JK Educate, an education consultancy with seven employees and 500 remote tutors worldwide.
So, where did it all begin?
Katie graduated from Southampton University with a degree in Psychology and knew very quickly that she wanted to go into a role where she would be working with people. After trying various corporate roles, she decided to return to university to study for a PGCE and make the move into teaching where she found her real passion. From making ‘boring’ lessons fun through silly voices to writing school plays whereby every student would be involved, Katie knew this was the role for her where she could make a difference. She then took her passion from the classroom into publishing books and resources for schools and parents to utilise. After her own experience going through the 11+ with her eldest daughter, Katie realised that parents were, to a large extent, fumbling around when it came to knowing what the best school was for their child. She then went on to write a book called How to get your child into the school you want, with the aim of advising parents on the current education system in the UK and how to best navigate it to benefit their child and their individual needs.
Taking the leap into business
Katie has a passion for going above and beyond in providing parents with detailed updates on their child’s progress, assessment levels and understanding each child’s learning style. It was clear to Katie that something was missing from the school system in the UK, and she felt that she wanted to provide parents with the right information on their child’s learning and development. As both a parent looking to support her child through school and a teacher wanting to see her students happy in education, she saw the opportunity to start an education consultancy alongside colleague and friend, Lorrae.
With the gap in the market identified and a great business partner by her side, Katie got to work. Owning a business ran in the family, with both grandmothers, her father and sister all running their own. Working initially from their own homes, Katie and Lorrae were a two-woman team sending out their message to schools and parents, slowly building JK Educate. But, like with any business, there were challenges along the way. So, we asked, ‘what would your advice be to people wanting to start a business?
- Build resilience – “It’s so important to be resilient as a business owner. You will get things wrong but it’s about trying to pick yourself up after a failure. Everyone makes mistakes, that's normal and it is always helpful using these mistakes to get to the next level. When we started there were certain things that were successful and others that weren’t, but we kept going as we had a business we believed in.”
- Be aware of changes in the market – “You have got to respond on the external environment and anticipate change. We were ahead of the game, in that, before the pandemic we had taken a lot of our tutoring online so that we could connect with students all over the world. This meant that when schools closed and many were looking for extra learning support we could seamlessly provide our tutoring and advice remotely.”
- Think beyond your limits – “When we started it was just Lorrae and I. We were two teachers looking to make a difference. Now, with the help and advice from Gerald Edelman, we are part of the Dukes Education family, with over 500 tutors worldwide and seven employees. I cannot stress enough the importance of having the right advice from the right team. Gerald Edelman have been fantastic in helping us grow from two teachers with a mission into JK Educate.”
The road to success
To take their business to the next level, Katie and Lorrae worked with Partner Howard Wallis on their business growth and corporate governance. “Howard was more than our accountant, he became our strategic adviser, helping us think corporate and on a long-term scale. After a while, Ben Hildebrand joined Howard in helping us to build our business and they have been a great team to have by our side. Right from the beginning, they cared and genuinely wanted us to succeed. If we ever needed additional support, for example for VAT advice, they signposted us to their VAT team. Also, when we came to look at being acquired, Howard connected us with the GE Deal Advisory team who supported us through the process of being acquired by the Dukes Education family.”
Making a difference in every child’s academic journey
What’s next for JK Educate? “Our goals are to continue working within the Dukes family and schools to make a difference. Dukes are an extremely supportive company, they have a lot of respect for our work and what we are trying to do - they were, without a doubt, the best partner for us. But of course, our purpose as a business is ‘Your Child Our Priority’ and we want to push this on the largest scale we can, growing in the international market.”
We can’t wait to see what is next for JK Educate!
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