Viola Lam

Hong Kong

“I believe learning can change people’s lives. That’s why I devote myself to work as an entrepreneur in the education sector, to help the future pillars of society.”

Viola Lam grew up in Hong Kong and after graduating from university she secured a well-paid job at an events company, but the role did not give her satisfaction and she soon found herself wanting to do something that made a contribution to society.

Viola realised it was teaching children that made her really happy. She recalls: “In a traditional Chinese family, girls are inferior. Both my sister and I had little financial support once we started secondary school. In order to continue my studies and take care of my sister, I started working as a tutor at the age of 16, so I know first-hand the effort and struggles of succeeding academically.”

It was this experience that led Viola to set up her specialist maths tutoring company, FS Education Centre, but it was not easy. “Though I was employed for a few years before starting my own business, my savings were still insufficient to open an education centre as it required huge sums of money for the rental of office equipment, teaching materials etc.“ That’s when Viola came into contact with Youth Business Hong Kong (YBHK), a member of Youth Business International. They gave Viola a loan, allowing her to purchase the equipment necessary to jumpstart her tutoring centre. They also matched her with a mentor - who helped her develop a business plan and supported her in taking her company from its early stages to a thriving success. Viola explains:

“Under his guidance and advice, I was able to set up an internal management system which was vital for the future development of my education centre.”

It was during that time that Viola also created her distinctive tutoring methods, using image memorisation as opposed to rote learning to try and help the children maximise their potential. She uses infographics, flowcharts and pictures to create an enjoyable and effective learning experience. Another important aspect of Viola’s tutoring centre that sets her apart from her competitors is the free online maths platform, called Star Programme, she has developed. The platform hosts online tutorials which have already benefited hundreds of thousands of local students, teaching them methods of maths calculation and giving them practice questions. The platform also hosts e-learning workshops for staff and teachers, and provides a space for parents to update their child’s study progress.

YBHK’s continued to support Viola in other ways: “Their promotional channels, such as exhibitions and networking events gave FS Education the media coverage and exposure I needed to create a better awareness of my programme. That led to an influx of interested parents who wanted to know more about her unique teaching method."

The business, which was started back in 2011, has gone from strength to strength. Viola franchised the idea and now has multiple centres across Hong Kong, employing hundreds of tutors. 

Viola is passionate about teaching and believes every child should be treated fairly and equally saying, “I remember the hardships of being a student, so I am always eager to share my innovative teaching method and train more tutors that will in turn benefit more children.”

Viola’s company also offers work experience for local students who aspire to pursue careers in the education sector. Her passion for business has led her to become a YBHK ambassador who regularly speaks at events and shares her personal entrepreneurial experiences.

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