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A Q&A WITH EDTECH ENTREPENEUR CHLOE BARRETT

Wednesday 21st November 2018
Tags: guest blog, Q&A

In this Q&A we hear from Ed Tech entrepreneur Chloe Barrett, founder of Digi Dentistry.

DigiDentistry provides an advanced way of learning using augmented reality and animation, targeting all learning domains, offering a multi-language system and an intelligent E-learning platform. Enhancing and changing dental education for the better.

Chloe’s inspiring work at DigiDentistry found her winning this year’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of The Year’ Enterprise Visionary Awards. Chloe is also a finalist at the Digital Entrepreneur Awards, UK Tech Founder Awards, Great British Entrepreneur and UK Business Tech Awards. 

In this Q&A she tells us about her career path so far, plans for the future, her time in Silicon Valley and more...

 



Can you tell us more about DigiDentistry - what it is, and who it is aimed at?

DigiDentistry is bridging the gap between theory and practical learning, using technology as an enabler to improve education specifically aimed at academic areas requiring interactive content.

The concept of allowing this application to target all learning domains came from my own experience as a visual learner and a lecturer trying to accommodate all students learning styles in the classroom and develop homework resources which would be suitable for all students. In creating DigiDentistry I wanted to make a real difference in education.

DigiDentistry is currently aimed at Undergraduate Dental students, Dental Hygienists, Dental Therapists, Dental Nurses and Technicians. We continue to build our content to suit different levels of dental education and post graduate courses.

We have some exiting plans in the pipeline, expanding into other academic areas on an international platform but at currently we want to establish ourselves in the dental market.


How did the idea come to life?

I previously set up a dental education company realising the cost and time it was taking to develop resources. I came across augmented reality about 5 years ago, this was the moment I knew I needed to develop something using this technology. I visualised an interactive application displaying 3D images for example tooth procedures, rare diseases, from here it has evolved into much more. 

What sparked your interest in the EdTech sector?

Education has always interested me. I love learning but like the other 75% of the population I am a visual learner, I learn better interacting with the subject. Technology is incredible, it streamlines processes, making tasks easier and reduces the time we spend on time consuming tasks. Technology must be included in education, we need to embrace the technology movement and utilise it. EdTech is growing at 17% every year it an exiting time to be part of this transition. 

Do you feel you have had to overcome any particular barriers as a female leader in tech? If so, how did you deal with these?

Yes, undoubtedly there are barriers, I feel I have worked hard to build sustainable relationships.  I do feel at times I have had to prove myself more than many male founders I know, especially going through the fundraising process. Of course, I am outnumbered by men at most, if not all, tech events but in a way,  I have used this to my advantage, I think at least I stand out as a women in tech.

I hope to Inspire more women and encourage them to explore the world of technology and take on any challenge.
 

You spent some time in Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world! How was that experience and what did you learn?

The experience was incredible, I met some amazing people including other founders, mentors, advisors and investors. I learnt something from all of them. I learnt so much, but one thing that sticks in my mind is ensuring my business is not just working from a realistic plan alone. I allow for radical planning this means I always think big. No matter how crazy it sounds, if I visualise it, I will work to achieve it.

Everyone I met has seen thousands of start-ups, so to be part of network who truly believe my company can go all the way is a feeling of accomplishment. Before I have even hit my peak, reflecting on this gives me confidence in the tough times. 


You recently were the winner of this year’s ‘Young entrepreneur of the year’ award. Congratulations! What would your advice be to other young entrepreneurs who are trying to push their venture further? 

Thank you, yes it really helped me reflect on how much I have done this year, being shortlisted and winning these awards makes you sit back and appreciate the hard work. This doesn’t happen often; the entrepreneurial journey is a rollercoaster it’s not easy to stop and take a moment to say well done to yourself.

The advice I would give is keep going, we only know our true strength during the tough times, starting a venture is not for everyone, it takes strength and resilience. Plan milestones and work hard to achieve them.


What would you say are the biggest challenges facing growing start-ups at the moment?

There’s always challenges facing start-ups but a  few I would include are access to funding, finding the right investors to support the growth and expertise. I think more transparency is needed in the funding process to ensure time is not wasted. We are all on our own ventures, not everyone will be aligned to join your journey but when you find the right people it starts to fit together.

What has been the highlight of your journey with DigiDentistry so far?

There has been several highlights this year, I think the overall positive response we have received from people about what we are working to achieve with EdTech has been a major highlight and confirmation. Being accepted onto a Silicon Valley Accelerator and being given opportunities to speak at amazing events in a variety of different countries, this has given me great insights into different technologies and I have been able to meet some inspiring people.

Manchester is making a name for itself worldwide when it comes to its digital activity. What do you like most about being based in Manchester?

I think the collection of visionaries we have in Manchester, people genuinely want to help each other I feel like I an external team at times, we connect and work together for the better good.

What can we expect to see from DigiDentistry in 2019? 

2019 will be an exiting year for DigiDentistry, we are expanding the team, continuing to evolve our developments. I am really exited to show our new application features. We plan to continue to test our beta phase application in Europe and the US covering additional countries to really streamline our international expansion plans. We will continue to fundraise to support growth.


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