Taking the work out of paperwork
"There are so many opportunities to solve interesting problems when you’re willing to have a conversation with people. Being open to people from all walks of life and at every level of opportunity helps keep your eyes and heart open."
Parent Paperwork started 18 months ago when Fiona Boyd and her co-founder and life partner David found that permission slips and other forms coming home in their three children’s schoolbags had become overwhelming in both number and sometimes complexity.
Feeling unable to keep up with the constant stream of forms running at nearly one per day, they decided to speak to several principals to assess the situation from the school’s point of view. She learned that the forms issued in schools are a universal problem.
Having set up a number of successful small businesses in the past, Fiona was ready to make a change. She saw opportunity to make a real difference for parents and schools, which lead to the creation of Parent Paperwork.
Solving problems through automation
“We believe teachers work hard enough already on educating our children, they don’t need to be loaded up with additional administrative tasks,” says Fiona.
With this in mind, Fiona and David set up Parent Paperwork, a platform automating forms sent from schools to parents.
“We’re unique in the market. Data collection via forms is still mainly done in the education space through paper forms. We just focus on automating that data collection and making it easy for schools and easy for parents.”
Fiona became inspired to take her platform to the world with the belief that by solving the problem of paper forms, she could ease the lives of educators and administrators.
Parent Paperwork now has a presence in seven countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Portugal and the Czech Republic. However, Fiona plans to further expand globally.
Conversation leads to inspiration
“We stand for efficiency, quality of life for educators, aiding regulatory compliance and just plain making life easier for parents and for educators.”
Fiona often draws inspiration from people she meets through work and travel. She believes that being curious about the lives and stories of other people immensely helps her success.
“My team members, and most people I meet, especially when I travel for work, are fascinating. There are so many opportunities to solve interesting problems when you’re willing to have a conversation with people. Being open to people from all walks of life and at every level of opportunity helps keep your eyes and heart open.”
Fiona uses Facebook to share human stories and profile those who inspire her along the way. “At the moment, Facebook’s great value to us as a channel is to tell our stories and those of our heroic schools and customers.”
Creating a paperless world
Currently fundraising for her Series A round, Fiona is talking to potential investors, working to build quality relationships with her current customers and encouraging others to try the platform.
Fiona has set herself an incredibly ambitious goal. She hopes to eliminate one billion pieces of paper from schools. She believes this can be achieved by encouraging education providers and systems to embrace her mission and to deploy the service. “We have made sure the platform is affordable so that schools in developing countries can also join us, and we’ll be using Facebook and other social channels to share our mission.”
Some wise words
Fiona encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to just go out and take charge. “Women are phenomenal problem-solvers and if you can figure out how to manage your household, you can figure out how to run a business. Women are constantly putting out bushfires, smoothing the way for others, creating systems and processes that keep their group functional—all this talented thinking and action can be deployed in your own business.”
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