It’s less than a year since its inception in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began, but Course Belt has already attracted 21,000 students.

Paolo Isyasa

Course Belt, an online learning platform that provides comprehensive and flexible access to quality education, is the brainchild of 24-year-old entrepreneur Paolo Isyasa. It seeks to provide life-transforming and affordable learning experiences for Filipinos who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

“Eight months ago, I was severely burdened to see some of my friends lose their jobs because of the pandemic. So, I asked myself, ‘how can I help?’ And that’s how the Course Belt was born. It’s a platform for learning new skills at one’s own pace. Filipinos have the guts and skills, we just need to empower them,” Isyasa said.

According to the International Labor Organization, the economic recession prompted by the pandemic has led to 10.9 million unemployed Filipinos.

Started at the beginning of the community quarantines in March 2020, Course Belt offers job-relevant courses and resources and fuels Filipino’s budding freelance careers as well as provide newly unemployed Filipinos with alternative sources of income.

The platform leverages technological and digital opportunities, of which Isyasa is familiar with. The graduate of BS Marketing Management, magna cum laude at University of Makati, has eight years of experience on creating websites and doing digital marketing for local and international businesses, starting at the age of 16.

Course Belt has attracted 21,000 paying students and upskilled them in areas of copywriting, digital marketing, web development, SEO (search engine optimization) writing, Facebook Ads, graphic design and social media management, among others.

The company has generated over P5 million in revenue so far, banking on the Filipino workforce’s demand to learn and upskill themselves to eventually land a job in the digital space.

The courses are offered from an affordable price of P199 up to P499 maximum.

“The main reason we are offering it at a very affordable rate is because we basically just want to help people earn for a living during this tough time,” Isyasa said.

Course Belt delivers expert instruction through online tutoring and comprehensive training manuals. Students also have Facebook groups for them to connect to the Course Belt team for clarifications and questions they have.

“We maintain an active community of learners where they can interact with one another and we provide localized and bite-sized content from local instructors, local examples, even local jokes,” Isyasa said.

“We are continually reviewing and adapting our programs to create a learning platform that is interactive and hassle-free yet affordable and easily accessible. Going forth, we aspire to help unlock opportunities for people from all walks of life to realize their career objectives,” Isyasa said.

The initiative has gained the nod of the CIIT College of Arts and Technology , which earlier placed bets on the young company as an investor. It has also won th Draper Startup House Manila Pitch Perfect Competition, bagging the prize of Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship Program from Silicon Valley-based Draper University. The pitch competition is sponsored by QBO Innovation Hub, the country premier startup accelerator and incubation hub.