Brothers Marwan and Hadi Aladdin see a world full of students. Not just those in school but ‘learners’ more broadly: anyone who needs to gain a certification or update knowledge.
So in 2012, the two entrepreneurs founded CoursePeer: a virtual space in ‘the cloud’ where companies could develop, and employees take, training certifications in a variety of skills needed for their jobs.
The brothers, who are both graduates of the department of electrical and computer engineering (Marwan BASc 2011, Hadi BASc 2012), developed their startup through the U of T Early Stage Technology accelerator for software-based ventures. First, they helped students earn formal recognition for employable skills, such as leadership abilities or problem-solving, then they designed virtual classrooms for businesses in such industries as insurance, retail, oil and gas. The Toronto-based company established offices in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, Europe and the Middle East. Then, they turned their focus to franchising.
“Franchising is a mega industry and growing so fast,” says Hadi. “Know-how transfer is crucial in franchising and we saw an opportunity there.” The brothers’ new Franchise University will help franchisees train new staff around the world through access to shared conversations, collaborations and training modules. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also started ArabCode.org – a partnership with governments and enterprises in the Middle East to teach coding to one million students aged eight and up.
Just like any keen learner, Hadi says the continual process of growth is what drives him. “You know it when you are on to something big with your startup,” he says. “It’s when you’re hitting the milestones you set, and you are enjoying going to your office every day to work with your team and network of partners.”