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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - SIAGI case study: Cullen Language Services (France), language school


With customers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local SMEs, Cullen Language Services is a company based in Lyon that specializes in teaching professional English for corporate clients.

“We have a number of language teaching solutions available”, explains John Cullen, the Irish founder and CEO, “but our main product is face to face training, working individually or in very small groups. We always try to ‘keep it real’, using real-life situations and customising the service and tailoring the course to the professional needs of our clients”. Cullen Language Services also offers a special immersion course that takes the clients to Ireland for an experience that combines classroom sessions with visits and excursions around Dublin.

The company has recently experienced a period of growth, as it established itself in the market and gained a reputation for quality service. “With globalisation, there’s a growing demand for English teaching that’s not covered by the education system” John says. In a period of 3 years, the company went from 20 000 to 30 000 training hours per year.

With this rapid growth, there was a significant strain on working capital and cash-flow, as complex processes and bureaucracy meant that Cullen often received payments with up to 12 months’ delay. In order to meet its needs, the company secured a loan through SIAGI, with EIF support under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe. “Without the loan, things could have become very uncomfortable. We would have had to make painful cuts in our staff or struggled to find alternative solutions”, John says, “and in a crucial time for us, spending time worrying about financing would have meant less time to concentrate on developing the business”.

With the cash-flow issues resolved, Cullen Language Services is now focussing on managing and consolidating its growth while also preparing to adapt to a period of change that is expected in sector regulations.

Company: Cullen Language Services (France)

Type of business: language school

EIF financing:  COSME LGF,  EFSI

Financial intermediary: SIAGI

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Italy please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fr


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