Going global

Kerri Breen
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Province invests in online training

A new, locally developed software program already attracting high-profile clients has received a $500,000 provincial investment to go global.

Bluedrop Performance Learning's CoursePark technology is the world's first learning management network. It allows businesses to manage staff training online using their own curriculum or purchase courses from a global library.

Emad Rizkalla (right), president and CEO of Bluedrop Performance Learning in St. John's, thanks Innovation, Trade and Rural Development Minister Shawn Skinner for a $500,000 investment from the provincial government at a ceremony Wednesday. - Photo by Gar

A new, locally developed software program already attracting high-profile clients has received a $500,000 provincial investment to go global.

Bluedrop Performance Learning's CoursePark technology is the world's first learning management network. It allows businesses to manage staff training online using their own curriculum or purchase courses from a global library.

Shawn Skinner, minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development made the investment announcement at a news conference at Bluedrop's Prescott Street office Wednesday.

"As a government, it is extremely important for us to support organizations such as Bluedrop in their bid to capitalize on market opportunities," he said.

The hundreds of courses the program offers range from personal development to business and health and safety skills.

"So when you look at it, it basically allows companies to have a one-stop shop to do all of the training management, to build their own courses, to buy their own courses," said Emad Rizkalla, president of Bluedrop.

The software is already in use in about 10 industries by clients such as Cougar Helicopters, the Toronto Stock Exchange and Irving.

"It's actually really taking off, and this investment will help us to take it global," Rizkalla said.

The program was created based on client demand for an efficient, inexpensive software program to manage employee training. Some of Bluedrop's larger clients wanted the company to build privacy and anti-money laundering courses and in the process, the company created a system to track who had done the courses.

"They were so impressed that we went out and raised some money from the Atlantic Innovation Fund and got some partners and built the product," he said.

Access to the software costs $89 for up to 50 employees, and it's free for up to 15. It launched publicly Nov. 3 after piloting for over a year.

Bluedrop began as a university engineering project 17 years ago, but has emerged as "one of the world's pre-eminent, e-learning companies," Skinner said.

The company has offices in Ottawa, Fredericton, Toronto and Washington, but its home base is St. John's.

"The thing that we've done differently is we have always focused on global markets," Rizkalla said.

"The strength that we really leverage is we have fantastic people. Our clients everywhere love the customer service, the positive attitude."

kbreen@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Bluedrop, Rural Development, Toronto Stock Exchange Atlantic Innovation Fund

Geographic location: Prescott Street, Ottawa, Fredericton Toronto Washington St. John's

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