Interview with Leanne Northcott, founder of DLE English
Leanne Northcott studied Education at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2014. She recently founded DLE English, providing English language programmes to international students.
Describe your business
English language courses for international students. Offering bespoke course content, we try to follow the level the student has learnt previously and work from there. Our target market are students who are studying at international language schools in Italy, and international students who are studying at both universities in Brighton.
Also part of the service is to offer inclusive practice for any students who may have additional learning needs such as dyslexia. We suggest new ways to learn and suggest the different range of tools available on the market to support their learning.
Courses are flexible. The shortest time is a week and longest can be up to 40 weeks if group booking numbers are reached. However, one-to-one sessions can be provided at convenient locations such as libraries, offering flexibility within students timetable/studies and commitments. We aim to be flexible as possible.
Also another part of the business is offering culture excursions outside the classroom. Also we offer a students a chance to visit York for two nights as a culture experience of the north and south divide in the UK. The students have a chance to stay at a five star hotel (group bookings min numbers/terms and conditions apply) however this is an excellent opportunity for students new to the UK to experience a city break and travel to York via train. The hotel also has a great cookery school in-house and a fantastic chance for students to experience a cookery (UK menu) as an icebreaker with other International students as well experience a new fun learning exercise.
How did you get your idea for the business?
I have been fortunate enough to travel and work in the hospitality sector, and during my studies I realised you can learn life skills/new skills in a fun and appealing way not just in a classroom. Plus culture experiences are a new way to learn and make memories.
How is your business unique?
At DLE English we offer bespoke course content to match the learning needs of the student. Plus we offer inclusive teaching and we offer a chance for students to stay at another city. Most language schools in Brighton only offer London and local attractions.
How do you market your business?
At the moment due to budget restraints I am relying on social media for new bookings. I have a website. I plan to advertise in European literature and websites. I want to get the message out there what we offer and how we differ from other language schools.
What has been your biggest business challenge and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been for the website to compete in search engine results, due to the costs of hiring an SEO and finding the right person.
To what do you attribute your business success?
Passion in the content, a bespoke service, and listening to the students’ needs and aims.
What are your business plans for the future?
I want to expand the service more on a global scale. I plan to develop and modify maybe some of the locations around the UK.
What one piece of advice would you offer to someone starting up?
Try and get as much help as possible and don’t give up also don’t spend too much setting it up and do as much research as possible.
What three skills are the most important for an entrepreneur to develop?
To accept things may not go the way you want. To listen to others. To find ways for the business to fund itself.
DLE English is currently offering hotel package trips to York for Brighton-area international students. Check out their Facebook page for more details