From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?
After researching and developing the concept for about twelve months, we commenced setting up ITHEA in early 2006.
There are two families involved in the set-up and operation: my wife, Helen, and I; and our family friends, Peter and Rose Kyriacou.
Our immediate concern was to acquire a detailed knowledge of the compliance requirements, this included regulatory authorities, representative bodies etc.
From there, we took charge at developing the key areas of the company, which, in our case, included curriculum stream and development of learning materials, marketing and recruitment of students, operations and staff recruitment.
We consulted extensively and exhaustively, seeking advice from industry leaders as well as educationalists who have specialised in international education.
This whole process, up until we opened the doors, took just on two years.
Did your Greek Australian background help you or impede you during your early days?
I believe our Greek-Australian background played and continues to play a pivotal role.
The sense of family and φιλότιμο are vital, I believe, in international education.
As Greek-Australians, we come from close knit immediate and extended families, with values based on mutual respect and integrity.
Then there is work ethic, something drummed into us, by our parents and wider family circle, from children.
At our initial stages, many of our meetings took place over (very) long dinners and lunches at each others’ houses.
In typical Greek style, discussions took place, issues were analysed and decisions were made, on the dinner table. There were many times where our children also participated in discussions and debates.
What would you say stands out as the comparative advantage of your business over the competition?
My only understanding of the operational facets of other international colleges is what I read in the media.
International colleges are being carefully scrutinised by our regulatory authorities as well as the media and rightly so.
When we set up ITHEA, we ensured that we had the checks and balances in place that would maintain the highest possible compliance against the legal requirements and obligations, as well as the ethical responsibilities.
To this end, we are vigilant with self-audits and constantly analysing our governance.
Professional development of all at ITHEA is another equally important parameter of our commitment to best practice.
How is business currently?
We are growing at a steady pace and mindful, constantly, of evaluating and consolidating our position prior to each next stage. We are constantly trying to stay in touch with education innovations, both domestically and internationally, with new technologies.
What is your vision for the future of your business?
Steady growth without compromising the quality of education delivery. We are constantly striving for excellence.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?
I believe that there are three R’s that young entrepreneurs should follow: research, research (and more) research. Do not spend too much time theorising and conceptualising, as you will end up in a vicious circle of inactivity. Believe in yourself.