Mayo-based Edtech has become a go-to source for assistive technology in the learning space and is using the Trading Online Voucher to pivot into workplace solutions.

At the end of the 1990s children with disabilities were entering mainstream education on a regular basis in Ireland for the first time. Liam Mac Réamoinn and Siobhan Cronin were both primary teachers. 

Two young boys with communication difficulties entered their lives. As a new special needs teacher Siobhán was determined to find IT solutions that levelled the playing field for them.

“In a difficult situation such as we are in now, we depend on each other for support. To keep jobs locally we need to keep our business locally”

She passed the baton to Liam who soon discovered there weren’t any hardware or software solutions readily available In Ireland but he thought of a way to solve that. And thus a business was born.

Edtech Software was founded in 2000 to serve the emerging market for computer software and hardware in education.

“We specialise in assistive technology software for Learning support and Special needs,” Liam explained. “We would be recognised as the go to source in Ireland in this area. We have a very high customer retention rate. We are noted for the knowledgeable and independent advice that we offer and the comprehensive range of solutions that we supply.”

The business is also stocking a range of robotic products for assistive learning in schools.

Necessity is the mother of invention

According to Liam, when the schools shut down on 13 March 2020 in Ireland because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the business was disrupted.

“It was several months before business began to pick up again. We used this time to assess what other options were open to us as a business. We identified the fact that adults in the workplace were not being well served in terms of assistive technology even though this could be provided at no cost to the employer through the Workplace Equipment Grant funded by the Dept of Social Protection.

Mayo Local Enterprise Office have been very helpful to us over the years. Since the beginning of the Covid crisis they provided us with online mentoring under the Business Continuity Voucher. We decided to establish a new branch of the business to service the workplace market.”

Building for tomorrow

A new website www.workability.ie is in development and due to launch soon.

As well as the Business Continuity Voucher and a website grant, Edtech also received Brexit training from May LEO.

Looking to the future, despite the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, Liam feels optimistic. “We have a very strong customer base within Irish education and I feel that our new emphasis on the assistive technology workplace market should see this market develop for us.”

He believes it is important to buy local where possible. “The old Irish saying sums it up: ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’ (‘People live in each other’s shadows). In a difficult situation such as we are in now, we depend on each other for support. To keep jobs locally we need to keep our business locally.”

Published: 29 January 2021

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