Decades before Aptech Ltd started its journey with an aim of preparing students for global careers in IT, multimedia and animation, hardware and networking, aviation, hospitality and travel and tourism. Ninad Karpe, CEO, Aptech Ltd shares the success of his company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): What inspired Aptech to take the franchise route?
Ninad Karpe (NK): When Aptech started its operations in 1986, IT training was at a nascent stage. Our focus was to reach out to all parts of the country and offer IT training. Our first franchise centre was set up in Chandigarh way back in 1990. From then on, there was no looking back. Franchising helped us to expand faster and reach out to vast markets. Our business partners brought in the entrepreneurial spirit which helped us to scale up quickly.
RK: What is the eligibility criterion for selecting the franchisee?
NK: While selecting a franchisee, we look for like-minded people who have a passion for delivering quality education to masses. Most of our franchisees are professionally qualified. Since we are in the business of training and education, it is important that franchisees are also well-qualified, evolved individuals, with a strong customer orientation.
RK: How many franchises do you have and in which all cities?
NK: Aptech has been growing steadily over the years adding around 50-70 new franchise centres every year. Having a dozen company-owned centres, which also serve as model centres. We have partnered with individuals, corporate and Government for setting up centres. In India we have over 1,000 centres, whereas we have over 375 centres in over 35 International locations.
RK: What support do you provide to your franchisees?
NK: The Aptech franchise model is based on intensive research and extensive experience of over 23 years in setting up and operating franchise centres worldwide. Aptech provides its franchisees with a brand name, technical know-how, curriculum and academic delivery methodology, marketing and advertising materials, training, placement and web centric support.
RK: What are the challenges that a franchisee usually face while running this business?
NK: Franchising requires a certain level of capability and perseverance when it comes to execute a plan. One should also be good at handling the operational activities and this becomes a critical point of determining the feasibility of the franchisee in maintaining the balance between controlling costs, while not compromising on the standards of training and operations.
RK: Any advice for the young entrepreneurs?
NK: As an entrepreneur, one should have an open mind while deciding to own a franchising business and must be willing enough to learn from the experts. Secondly, he should be passionate about the business he is entering into. Positive attitude and basic business management skills are the important keys to be successful. Importantly, it is necessary to seek advice from one’s accountant or lawyer while signing a franchise agreement.
RK: What are the company’s future plans?
NK: We will look at opening another 50-60 centres this year, which will mainly be in unrepresented territories. We would also look at opening 70-80 centres of our newly launched brand English Express over the next 12 months.
RK: Share with us any new venture that your company has entered into?
NK: We have recently launched English Express - the English language Academy. The institute caters to all segments for English Language training and has a wide array of courses for adult and young learners and for the corporate. English Express also offers IELTS and TOEFL test preparation along with specialised training in business English, accent training and spoken English.