If you were waiting around to meet the CEO of a growing Jamaican company, who has won several awards and travelled the world participating in global economic fora, you’d hardly expect to see Gordon Swaby walk in the room.
Swaby is all of 23 years old, after all, and looks like everyone’s best friend in high school. But he’s a star of the local Internet industry and a growing figure in the Jamaican business arena.
Swaby is head of EduFocal, an online social learning service that, among other things, uses gaming methodology to held students and teachers prepare for GSAT and CSEC exams.
I asked him how he came up with the idea for the company. “The idea started with my cousin, Luwayne. The most unique thing about EduFocal is the ‘gamification’ aspect. Gamififcation is incorporating gaming elements into non-game contexts.
I liked the idea and I immediately started building on it,” he said. “We started out together, but he was doing his Master’s at the time and didn’t have much time to contribute, so I toiled along alone. The idea came about in November 2011. We spent almost a year developing it and launched on March 15, 2012 at The Jamaica Pegasus.”
HIGH LEVELS AND HIGHER LEARNING
The gaming component of the site is a big pull for students. They can climb levels based on the work they do and even win prizes for outstanding results. The idea seems simple, but when you meet Swaby, you realise that it would take someone like him to put all the pieces together and actually make it work.
He has an easy way about him; smiles a lot and is quick to share ideas as they pop into his head. But his drive and propensity to think outside of the proverbial box, are obvious. He also reads a lot and the way he’s able to switch topics and speak confidently on a variety of matters, makes this clear.
I asked him what career he dreamed of getting into when he was growing up in Christiana, Manchester.
“I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t sure what specifically I wanted to get into,” he said. “I’ve always loved technology and the Internet, so I’m not surprised where my path has taken me.”
But there must be something that made him want to go the entrepreneurship route. It would be easier to just become an office drone and be sure of a paycheque each month. Wouldn’t it?
Read More: Jamaica Gleaner