L-R: Special iApps co-founders Colin Dean and Beverley Dean.
Jane Imrie

North East app goes global with overseas downloads increase

Educational app developer Special iApps has seen a 17 per cent increase in international downloads since 2017.

Based in Houghton-le-Spring, Special iApps was founded as a social enterprise by software engineers Beverley and Colin Dean, to fill a gap in the market for educational apps for children with special educational needs.

The idea came in 2011 when founder Beverley struggled to find an educational app suitable for her son William, who has autism and Down’s Syndrome.

Special iApps specialises in apps to improve reading, vocabulary, numeracy and concentration, and following support from the Department for International Trade had downloads in 26 new countries in 2018 including Kenya, Honduras and Hong Kong.

Overseas downloads now account for 79% of Special iApps’ customer base. Special iApps CEO Beverley Dean explained: “Our personal motivation to support as many families as possible has meant our business has had a global outlook from the beginning.

“DIT has helped us to develop, grow and shape our organisation and the projects we’re working on. As well as offering its help through workshops and advising on translation for our website, our local ITAs have been ready to offer bespoke advice to ensure we’re able to make the most of the demand overseas.”

David Coppock, head of region (North East) at the Department for International Trade, added: “Special iApps has developed a product that is making a real difference to people around the world.

“Exporting is undoubtedly a strong avenue for growth, but we know that firms face challenges throughout the process, such as identifying new overseas partners and translation.

“We have a network of ITAs based across the North East ready to help organisations and businesses of all sizes start, or increase, their export activity.”

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