NextGen bolsters Taiwan’s global competitiveness by developing business communication skills

2020-06-03 | Startup Interview
NextGen bolsters Taiwan’s global competitiveness by developing business communication skills

Many Taiwanese enterprises are eager to improve their employees’ English language proficiency. NextGen offers enterprises customizable and specialized corporate language training, focusing on specific learning objectives to deliver tangible results in enhancing business communication skills.

In order to raise English language proficiency levels and strengthen Taiwan’s national competitiveness, the government is seeking to transform Taiwan into a bilingual nation by 2030. Surveys have found that even though most enterprises in Taiwan have employees that are proficient in English, these employees often give others the impression of being reserved, shy, and quiet. What they need are social and communication skills, which are an essential aspect of doing business and greatly influence the outcomes of negotiations, meetings, conferences, and presentations. NextGen helps enterprises advance by providing professional corporate language training designed to significantly improve business communication skills.

Transforming corporate English language training with flexible and customizable courses

With 30 years of experience in English language education and training, Brian Mc Closkey, General Manager of NextGen Corporate Language Training, is firmly committed to making Taiwan more competitive on the global stage by empowering professionals from all sectors through the company’s training courses. Since Mc Closkey graduated from Trinity College in Dublin with a master’s degree in education in 1988, he has built a career in the field of English language education and training in Taiwan. With his extensive experience and expertise, Mc Closkey gained a clear picture of the Taiwanese learning environment and education system, saw an opportunity to improve English language education in Taiwan, and built his own business by venturing into the field of corporate language training.

As a startup company, Mc Closkey began with a few core members and trainers, all with a background in corporate training. In line with the company’s motto—“what we teach today, you use tomorrow”—NextGen provides unique corporate training, occupying a key niche market without real competitors. According to Mc Closkey, NextGen offers flexible and customizable courses that are focused on enterprises’ needs. Before training commences, he will first talk to the customer’s HR department to better understand their needs and identify content to meet those needs. He will then adjust existing modules and design new ones to fulfill the customer’s demand.

“When talking to HR departments, we often find that what the customer really needs is not language training but social and communication skills,” said Mc Closkey. Most enterprises already have employees proficient in English, who require goal-oriented learning to improve communication skills for meetings, presentations, leadership, and management. NextGen delivers three key advantages. First, NextGen provides measurable results with immediate improvement; competency-based training modules and rubrics for measuring outcomes are used throughout the courses. Second, course content is expressly designed to fulfill the needs of the customer. Third, innovative teaching methods are employed, e.g., face-to-face teaching, e-learning, virtual learning, webinars, or any combinations of these.

“We see ourselves more as consultants and advisors than as English teachers,” Mc Closkey said proudly. For instance, NextGen embarked on a project with Yuanta Securities, which wanted to expand in Asia and needed its employees to be able to professionally deliver presentations and quarterly business reviews in English. Another major client, the multinational gaming company Blizzard, asked NextGen to create a course specifically for project management skills. Meanwhile, a major project involving leadership skills is being conducted with Gogoro, also a company aiming to expand internationally.

Building the brand and expanding the business

Even though endorsements from high-profile customers have bolstered NextGen’s marketing efforts and revenue growth, it still faces many obstacles. Skilled trainers with a strong background in education aren’t always easy to find. And as the popularity of the courses has grown and more customers have adopted NextGen’s training, it has become more challenging to protect intellectual property. NextGen has also sought additional funds from investors and the government to expand further.

In early 2020, NextGen held discussions with the Consulting Service Centre of the Small & Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA), MOEA. Although NextGen did not secure any funds, it did receive assistance from the NiEA in understanding government operations and identifying channels to apply for financial support. NextGen will be ready to apply for funding once new applications will be accepted by the government in October.

Looking toward the future, NextGen has devised a short-, medium-, and long-term plan to attain further growth. In the short term, NextGen will continue to build its brand and increase and enhance the content it offers to clients. The medium-term plan is to generate more revenue and gain more customer testimonials. And the long-term plan is to find new funding sources and expand the business. “I have an attractive, low-risk product and our business model is profitable and scalable,” said an ambitious Mc Closkey. He is confident that with more investment coming in, the company will be able to expand rapidly and realize its mission of empowering Taiwanese professionals to thrive in international business environments.