Education Sep, 05 2011

Growing exponentially via franchising

By Namita Bhagat
Growing exponentially via franchising

Inspired by the renowned Reggio Emilia educational approach of northern Italy, the brand ‘SERRA International’ aims to deliver quality pre-school education in India. In an interview, Ranjan Goyal, CEO, Edvance Pre-Schools Pvt. Ltd shares the brand’s expansion plans via franchising.

Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us about the inception and concept of ‘SERRA International’. What according to you is the USP of the brand?

Ranjan Goyal (RG): SERRA international was set up in association with Singapore based EtonHouse International Education Group to bring quality international pre-school education in India. This is a first of its kind joint venture partnership in the field of pre-school education in the country. SERRA international pre-schools are also introducing an innovative curriculum inspired by the renowned Reggio Emilia educational approach of northern Italy. With a professional management team comprising Harvard, IIT and IIM alumni, SERRA International is one of the fastest growing pre-school chains in the country.

NB: The company has opted for franchise growth model. How and when did you start franchising?

RG: We started franchising a year back with the objective of making world-class early childhood education accessible to children and parents in the country. We are expanding via franchise route through a multi-pronged approach encompassing online initiatives, mass media marketing and localised initiatives in the markets where SERRA is present. Additionally, our satisfied parents and franchisees are proving to be our brand ambassadors.

NB: How many franchise/owned locations do you have at present in India and how many are expected in coming years?

RG: We have set up our own flagship SERRA International pre-school at Aundh, Pune and have 35 franchise partners who have joined us across the country including major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore and Ahmedabad. In the next 12 months, we plan to reach over a 100 pre-schools across the country. Our target cities for expansion are Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Cochin (Southern India); Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Panchkula, Mohali, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Delhi and Gurgoan (Northern India), Patna, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Rourkela (Eastern India); Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bhopal and Baroda (Western India).

NB: What are the eligibility criteria in terms of capital and space requirements from the franchisee’s end?

RG: We welcome franchise partners who are passionate about providing quality early childhood education. We require our franchisees to invest within the range of Rs 12 to 18 lakh with a minimum built-up area of 2,000 sq. ft.

NB: What kind of support and training is provided to the franchisees by the company for starting and operating the franchise business?

RG: Our aim is to help the franchise schools succeed both qualitatively and financially. For this, we provide a comprehensive five- tier support system. Assistance will be provided across various areas such as: a) Property selection and Renovation b) Recruitment & Training c) Marketing Guidance d) Academic Research & Development e) Systems and Quality Control.

Additionally, we have an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which is an online school management program that is used by the franchisee for day-to-day school operations.

NB: The company also has the brand ‘VIVERO International’ in its portfolio. Would you consider franchising ‘VIVERO’ also in the near future?

RG: VIVERO International is a premium brand of pre-schools set up by Edvance Pre-schools in partnership with EtonHouse International Education Group. We have two flagship centres of VIVERO at Kalyani Nagar, Pune and Powai, Mumbai respectively. Currently, we are focusingon expanding SERRA International across Tier I and Tier II cities in the country.

NB: What is your over view for the Education Industry in the coming years and how do you see the industry benefiting from the franchise model?

RG: The education industry is on the threshold of exponential growth. India’s young population is globally exposed and is yearning for quality education. We are filling this gap effectively by rapidly expanding across the country.

Related: Tutoring lessons of success

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