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Dec 1, 2008

Entrepreneurs Use Skype to Create Jobs in Northern Wyoming Teaching South Koreans to Speak English

By Howard Wolinsky on November 24, 2008 in In the news.

 

Montana may be Big Sky country. But nearby Wyoming is turning out to be Big Skype country.

Ten Sleep, Wyo., population 350, is sleepy in name only. Skype and high tech are alive and well there.

Ten Sleep-based Eleutian Technology teaches people in South Korea to speak English via Skype.

Eleutian has hired about 300 teachers from Northern Wyoming to teach more than 15,000 students in Korea, according to Kent Holiday, Eleutian's CEO.

 

Holiday told Associated Press: "Our plan was never to be a company that had a few thousand subscribers. It's a $100 billion market just between Korea, Japan and China, and so we wanted to be the leader and we wanted to have millions of users."

 

Kathleen Hampton, a kindergarten teacher in Ten Sleep, teaches English to Korean students several times a week, including college students and business execs and students in after-school programs known as "hakwons."  She said the hakwon students are "always fun because they're always yelling out in the background. You get 14-year-old boys yelling out `I love you!' because they learn these English expressions and try to use them."

 

Ten Sleep got its name for being the midpoint of a 20-day trek between Indian camps. Holiday picked the town, where his in-laws live, for his business because it upgraded from copper wires to a modern fiber optic system.