The Story of The Ambassador Platform

With it officially being a year since we were acquired by IDP Education, a leader in global education services in the world, we thought it would be appropriate to share how we got started way back in 2016! And so, with that in mind, we’re excited to share the fun and somewhat unpredictable journey of how George Olesen and Nik Higgins founded The Ambassador Platform (or how many of our partners know us as 'TAP).


The Birth of an Idea

It all started when George was studying at Durham University. He noticed a big difference between his experience and that of his classmate, Rob. Rob was the first from his school to go to Durham and felt nervous and unsure about what to expect. George, on the other hand, had a network of friends already there, giving him a head start with all the insider info. Rob’s stories of uncertainty and discovery inspired George. He realised that not everyone had the same advantage of knowing someone on the inside, and this sparked an idea: why not connect prospective students with current students to make the transition smoother for everyone?


Initially, George began setting up these conversations individually, reaching out to his network to pair prospective students with current students. It was a labour of love and an insightful learning process. George quickly saw the impact these connections had, not just in easing nerves, but in helping prospective students make informed decisions. This grassroots effort soon blossomed into a more structured platform, called The Access Platform, a name which was later changed to The Ambassador Platform!


3rd Bday TAP
TAP Team celebrating the company's 3rd birthday!


Team trip
TAP Team Away Trip in 2020


The Dynamic Duo

Realising he needed a partner who shared his passion for widening participation and had the experience to back it up, George turned to Nik Higgins. Their first meeting was a bit of a performance. Determined to impress Nik, George made it seem like everything was running perhaps too smoothly, even outsourcing a white-labelled platform with similar functionality. Despite the somewhat unconventional approach, Nik saw the potential and joined forces with George. Nik brought in the much-needed support, contacts, and experience to take the platform to the next level.

NAFSA 2023
George, Nik and the team representing TAP at NAFSA 2023

Gaining Traction

Educational institutions initially approached the platform with caution, yet a few of them wanted to be at the forefront of adopting an innovative technology to support their marketing and recruitment efforts. They liked the concept but were wary about investing in something new. However, our dedication and hard work soon began to pay off. We started small but steadily gained traction; in 2020 we had over 100 institutions from around the world using the platform and in 2021, over 1 million messages had been exchanged through TAP. 

A Milestone Achievement

With over 200 partners worldwide, a complex platform with hundreds of features developed in close partnership with our customers and hundreds of thousands of students' decisions influenced, we couldn't be prouder of what The Ambassador Platform come to become. One of our most memorable milestones was quite recent, when we became part of IDP Education. This partnership was not just a significant achievement; it was a recognition of the potential and success of our platform. Being part of IDP opened new doors and expanded our reach, allowing us to inspire and connect even more students around the world.


IDP party
IDP x TAP 2023 Summer Party: Celebrating milestones, making memories, and having a blast together!

The Driving Force Behind TAP

Our journey is also marked by the unique personalities of George and Nik. George is an avid sailor, often escaping to the sea on his boat whenever he can. Nik, on the other hand, is a running enthusiast and a tech geek with a particular love for Apple products. Their distinct interests, complementary skills and strong values have been a fantastic driving force behind The Ambassador Platform’s success, enabling them to bring the best people into the team to make the TAP vision happen.

TAP Fundraising
TAP Team Fundraising for Ukraine in 2022: Coming together to make a difference and support a cause close to our hearts.
TAP APAC Team reunion

Looking to the Future

As we look to the future, our excitement only grows. We're excited to support even more students through their higher education journey, helping them navigate it with confidence and ease. Our story is a testament to the power of perseverance. As George and Nik would say, you’ve got to be willing to get knocked down and keep getting back up. It might feel tough, but success will come with persistence.


So, that’s the exciting story of The Ambassador Platform. We’re incredibly proud of our journey and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you for being a part of our community!