Pictured: TJ Hegarty
TJ Hegarty is founder of Breakthrough Maths, an online school that has launched a new platform to test students throughout each class to track their progress.
What was your first job?
My first job was on the farm with my father. We farm beef cattle at home in Cork. My first ‘real’ job was with Kerry Foods, on their graduate program.
What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?
I love farming. Ireland has such a history of agriculture and it’s ingrained in our rural communities. I wanted to play a part in the food and agricultural sector following my degree in UCD, but I soon realised that it wasn’t the career for me. I now run an online Maths school and that stemmed from working with students in my local community, teaching them Maths. I got major satisfaction, seeing their progress.
What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
Building the team and structure to go from 12 students a week in our first class in a local community school in 2020 to teaching over 2,000 students a week in 2024.
Career wise, would you do anything differently?
I would have worked for myself earlier. I love all things entrepreneurship.
In one sentence, how would you define success?
The satisfaction of making progress and developing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Your twenties are for learning, thirties for earning. Slow down when you are young, you’ve got time.
How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
Everyone is given their own accountability. We don’t have meetings. People work off their own initiative.
How do you handle adversity?
I sleep it off, wake up tomorrow and go again. Problems are never as bad the next day and you often find solutions in your sleep.
How do you relax?
I love pucking a ball around or going up home to walk around the farm.
What is your favourite (non-business) book?
More Than a Game by Con Houlihan.
What are your aspirations for the future of the business?
Build a global education business from the heart of Cork city!