Innovation That Matters

Free Chinese lessons for Ireland

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The global recession has hit the Irish economy harder than most. But help is at hand, albeit from an unlikely source: ChinesePod, the online learning platform, is offering free and unlimited Chinese lessons to the people of Ireland until May 2010. The company, co-founded by Irishman Ken Carroll, believes that providing this linguo-cultural inroad to the world’s most potent economy could be effective towards Ireland’s long-term economic recovery. ChinesePods’s timing is spot on: this year marks the 30th anniversary of Sino-Irish diplomatic relations, and beginning May 1st next year, the Irish pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo will open its doors. To receive their free ChinesePod voucher, Irish residents need to send an SMS to the company from a +353 mobile phone number before 31 October 2009. They’ll then get access to daily lessons, podcasts, iPhone and Android apps, online discussion boards and Skype-based teaching from Mandarin experts. ChinesePod is hoping to further stimulate the buzz by inviting Irish users to take videos of anyone and everyone Irish saying “Ni hao!” (hello), or photos of the phrase posted in unlikely locations around Ireland, and upload them to the company’s Facebook page. While it may not get Ireland out of the recession, ChinesePod clearly speaks the language of generosity, which can create plenty value of its own and costs little for purveyors of digital media. Is there anything you give away to grow your market and help others along the way? Spotted by: Pam Lao



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