Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
Gordon Swaby, CEO/founder, EduFocal, and one of the PSOJ-Gleaner 50UnderFifty future business leaders, last Thursday delivered words of inspiration to students at Spalding High School in Clarendon. He spoke on entrepreneurship at the institution's Career Day titled 'Guiding Your Career Path to Entrepreneurship'.
Speaking to grade nine students, Swaby explained the importance of outlining what they want to achieve in life and working towards their goals.
"At 16 years old, I wrote something called my life wire frame - my outline for the rest of my life," Swaby explained.
"It provided direction for me. I find that writing goals on paper really helps you to measure how far you are and how close you are to getting it."
Early in his life, Swaby focused on his passion - technology. While attending Holmwood Technical High School, his entrepeneurship skills kicked in at age 15 when he started Advance Gamers, a website which was among the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean. "I think I have always been an entrepreneur without even knowing what it meant. "I started because I wanted video games; I was a game fanatic back then," Swaby explained.
During high school, he was asked to design a website for The Gleaner Company, and also got the opportunity to fulfil his dreams of writing for the Youthlink Magazine.
"One of the items on my life wire frame was that I wanted to write for The Gleaner's Youthlink. I remember the Tuesday in 2008 when, while reading the magazine, I told myself I wanted to be among its writers. If you want something bad enough, you are going to come up with ways of doing it," he surmised.
Swaby approached the Youthlink editors and was subsequently asked to do the website as well as write for the paper. He told his eager listeners: "If I didn't write my goals down and focus on them for a long time, I wouldn't realise that there was an opportunity for me. Sometimes opportunities pass us because we are not sure what we want to do in life. If you are not sure, you will do things you don't want to do."
Swaby disclosed that it was his focus on his passion - technology and education - which prompted him to establish the very successful EduFocal, launched in March of last year.
EduFocal is an online social-learning tool for Grade Six Achievement Test and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate students, offering test-preparation questions for students. Gaming elements are incorporated to make learning more exciting.
"The response has been over-whelming from both students and the private sector. Many individuals have endorsed EduFocal as a tool that can change the landscape of education in Jamaica," Swaby said.
His passion has always been technology and education, and he thinks it's a great way of accomplishing his life's goals. "When you have passion, money will come; don't be driven by money, if you dedicate 10,000 hours doing the things that you love you will become an expert at it."
In five years, Swaby wants to see his company listed on the Junior Stock Exchange. He is now pursuing his bachelor's degree in computer engineering at the University of the West Indies.