From education to employment

UK education business leader Ben Pike appointed to take edtech startup MasterStart global

Ben Pike

South African edtech startup, @MasterStartSA, is taking its management education solutions global under the leadership of newly appointed UK-based Chief Executive Officer Ben Pike (@Pikeben). This comes as online learning takes off globally due to lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

MasterStart partners with some of South Africa’s leading business schools to provide online education, offering transformative programmes for individuals and businesses.

Ben, who is passionate about humanising the online education experience and making it highly impactful, joined the edtech company following a hugely successful career in the skills and education field in the United Kingdom.

Currently on the boards of several skills and education institutions, Ben was most recently an Executive Director of QA, the United Kingdom’s largest provider of tech training and education, which sold to CVC Capital Partners for £700 million in 2017.

Even before Covid-19, the global Online Education market size was projected to reach $245 billion by 2026, representing compound annual growth of 8.2%, according to Valuates Reports.

Says Ben: “The global online education opportunity has grown substantially as a result of the pandemic over the past year. MasterStart is positioning itself to take advantage of this both in South Africa and globally. There is currently a huge rush to get content digitised and online, but we want to go much further in putting human connection at the heart of everything we do online.”

“Our job is not to just educate people, or tell them how to do things,” he adds. “Our role is to make connections and empower people to go beyond simply acquiring new skills. To create the opportunity for people to learn from each other as well as leading industry and academic experts and begin learning discussions that last for years to come.”

Says Jesse Hemson-Struthers, CEO of MasterStart parent the Balfour Group:

“MasterStart and its management teams have built the business to the point where it is well regarded in South Africa. To get to the next level, we need an industry-expert leader with large scale education experience to capitalise on the growth opportunity and build an impactful, high quality career development business. Ben is that person. We are very pleased to have secured someone of his calibre and expertise to guide the next phase of MasterStart’s growth.”

MasterStart plans to expand its partnerships with universities and global industry bodies during 2021. It is also building more transformative programmes for its global clients as a key driver of growth.

In keeping with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of quality education and gender equality, MasterStart has aligned its own goals with these themes. Its Developing Women in Leadership programmes are already making it easier for women to climb the corporate ladder and lead real transformation.

“Through our expansion we aim to empower more ambitious individuals who want to have the tools to advance their careers and thrive in our fast-changing world,“ Ben concludes.

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