The story of Sharndre Kushor is very special. The 23 year old of South African Indian origin attended Albany Primary School, Albany Junior High and Albany Senior High School. At the age of 18, after graduating as Head Student at Albany Senior High, she co-founded Crimson Education from the family living room in Albany, an entity that has evolved from a start-up into a NZ$220 million global education company, encompassing 20,000 students and 2,000 tutors and mentors. As Chief Operating Officer, Sharndre has overseen expansion to 24 cities around the world. Just last year Crimson was recognised as Deloitte Fast 50's top three fastest growing companies with 1005% growth.
Sharndre says that growing up on the North Shore she felt surrounded by people in the community who were pushing her to be the best version of herself. It was an upbringing and grounding that motivated her to share what she had learnt about global study and career opportunities with the world.
She is proud that Crimson has supported numerous students from the North Shore who have gained admission to Ivy League and Oxbridge schools and have shared information about global opportunities through free community workshops and school talks to thousands of North Shore students. Since 2015, Crimson students have collectively received 133 offers to Ivy League schools and 38 to Oxford and Cambridge universities. Crimson has also secured over $63 million in scholarship funding and financial aid for students. New Zealand now has the highest per-capita admission results to Ivy League/Top US universities than any other country outside of the US.
In 2016, while still living in Albany, Sharndre graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Health Sciences specialising in Population Health. That same year, she oversaw Crimson's expansion of its offices from Auckland and Sydney to Melbourne, London, Bangkok, Singapore, and beyond. In 2016 Crimson took in over $30 million of investor capital to enable them to drive further geographical expansion.
Amidst growing competition in the education market, Crimson has overseen mergers and acquisitions of reputable brands like MedView, Play Atlantic, EduExperts and NumberWorks’nWords – the latter of which Sharndre is a Director. Sharndre currently sits on the board of five education companies that have global reach.
In 2017 Sharndre co-founded the Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship - a Crimson funded program dedicated to young Maori students who have the spirit to conquer the world stage. As a result five Maori students received a collective amount of $100,000 worth of education and mentoring to fuel their future study and careers.
Sharndre has also launched an international tours arm of Crimson that has seen hundreds of students participate in Model UNs at Yale and Harvard as well as experience Facebook HQ, Twitter, SnapChat and the boardrooms of the world’s largest hedge funds on Wall Street.
Sharndre's story has featured on the Forbes Asia '30 Under 30' list. She also received the 2017 New Zealand Youth Enterprise Award; is the youngest person to receive the Best Businesswoman of the Year Award and has won the Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year in New Zealand’s annual Indian Business Awards.
Sharndre says that her persistence in business to prove her value and have a seat at the table consistently allowed her to overcome the social conditions that originally acted as barriers for her and countless other young women. Today, she oversees the entire running of the organisation that currently has over 260 employees, 2300 contractors across more than 20 countries.
In the future Sharndre's interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field of e-learning and ultimately hopes to use the knowledge and insight to change the way that people learn for the better. Earlier this year she visited Fiji to discuss with officials how e-learning can be used as a tool for Fijian students living in rural and island areas to build 21st century skills. This trip was an exciting milestone for her as it marked the beginning of work with governments to collaborate on how resources and policy can be structured to yield the best outcomes for students.
Sharndre will use the AIMES Awards scholarship funds to contribute towards attending an Interpersonal Dynamics for High Performance Executives course at Stanford University and also towards a charitable initiative to spread the Christmas joy to underprivileged children on the North Shore. For the past seven years she has been running and self funding this initiative. On Christmas Eve each year she posts on a range of community groups asking for names of children who will not be receiving gifts from Santa because of financial hardship. This has resulted in Christmas presents for over 1000 children who live on the North Shore.
Sharndre Kushor receives the AIMES Innovation Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Massey University – including a cash grant of $15,000.
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