Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

New tutoring concept wins CBS Startup Award

TopTutors was one of three start-ups to win the CBS Startup Award in 2022. Being completely online-based makes it easier for them to match tutors and students regardless of geography and based on subjects and interests alone. From the left: CEO Hasan El Youssef and CTO Elmar J. Johannsson. Photo: CSE.

Sometimes you don’t have to create a brand-new concept to win awards. You can just tweak an existing industry formula to increase flexibility and reach more customers. That was exactly what university students Hasan El Youssef and Elmar J. Johannsson did when they started TopTutors in 2021. A concept that secured them the CBS Startup Award in November 2022, which comes with a grant of DKK 75,000 to help them scale up their business.

News |   03. Feb 2023

Emilie Jacobsen

Freelance journalist

The CBS Startup Award has existed since 2017, giving startups the opportunity to pitch their companies in front of a jury. These experts are tasked with selecting the three best startups and awarding them with seed capital – a grant of DKK 75,000 each.

TopTutors is a tutoring company for primary and high school students that differs from its competitors by being completely online. This enables better matches between tutors and students, since geography is not an issue.

This is especially advantageous for students outside the major cities, as they gain access to university student tutors. It also enables the team behind TopTutors to factor in interests and other considerations when matching tutors with students.

“We can find a tutor who is not only very skilled in the subject but also has similar interests to the student. If a third grader is interested in soccer, we can find a tutor who is a soccer fan as well. If a high school student wants to be a chemical engineer, we can find a tutor from that exact university programme,” says Hasan El Youssef, CEO at TopTutors.

He believes that shared interests create better connections between tutors and students and that this will help students learn.

Hasan El Youssef has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Copenhagen, while the other founder, CTO Elmar J. Johannsson sports a bachelor’s degree in International Business from CBS. Right now, both are taking time off from their studies to work full time on TopTutors.

Own experiences turned into a start-up

The idea for TopTutors came from their own experiences. Elmar J. Johannsson is originally from Iceland and struggled to learn Danish when starting at a Danish primary school. In the 7th grade, his teachers told him that he was not fit to go to high school.

But a tutor changed that.

Hasan El Youssef, on the other hand, had experience with being a tutor when he worked as a maths tutor for Copenhagen Municipality. He met Elmar J. Johannsson when both were studying at CBS, before Hasan El Youssef switched to the University of Copenhagen.

Education has been a very traditional and old-fashioned business where you do what you have always done, but COVID showed that education could also take place online

Hasan El Youssef, CEO at TopTutors

“Our entrepreneurial spirits and our shared experiences with tutoring laid the foundation for TopTutors,” says Hasan El Youssef.

But they did not want a tutoring company like the others on the Danish market. They wanted a company that was completely online in order to offer maximum flexibility to tutors, students and parents.

Besides the opportunity to match students and tutors regardless of where they live, the system also makes it easier for parents to keep track of what their children are studying at the moment.

TopTutors was launched in January 2021 and, with the help of 300 tutors, has already helped 450 students.

The founders are not blind to the fact that their launch was timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic gave it a push in the right direction.

“COVID changed the way we perceive the world. Education has been a very traditional and old-fashioned business where you do what you have always done, but COVID showed that education could also take place online,” explains Hasan El Youssef.

Applied twice for the CBS Startup Award before winning

In fact, 2022 was not the first time the team behind TopTutors had applied for the CBS Startup Award. They did so in 2021 as well.

They clearly understood that even if you do not win, the experience of applying is still very educational.

“As a candidate for the CBS Startup Award, you have to go through a lot of steps, such as creating a pitch for your company, and working in-depth with your budget and future strategy. This is really helpful, even if you don’t win,” says Hasan El Youssef.

He explains that even though the grant of DKK 75,000 was an important reason for applying, the acknowledgement of their work that comes with the award is equally valuable.

“It is recognition of our hard work and our concept. It’s so nice that others understand and believe in our vision about online tutoring,” says Hasan El Youssef.

They believe that the award will make them more attractive to future investors and will raise awareness among both potential customers and the media.

Besides TopTutors the other companies that also won the CBS Startup Award in 2022 were Exur Insurance Technologies and Instructr. Applications for the CBS Startup Award 2023 are welcome in the autumn of 2023.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New tutoring concept wins CBS Startup Awardby

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected