Aptech Limited, the global learning solutions major, recently launched its new brand, English Express, an English Learning Academy. Preeti Malik, Senior Vice President, Aptech Limited shares the company’s future plans and aspirations from this venture.
Abha Garyali (AG): What led to Aptech’s foray into franchising of English Express institutes?
Preeti Malik (PM): With this foray into language training, Aptech is aiming a considerable share of an English language training market which reportedly has a potential of $1.4 billion - when both organised and unorganised English training fronts are combined. English language training contributes towards 33 per cent of the total vocational courses in India. With this, we are looking at the huge untapped segment in terms of universities and colleges. We are also in talks with State Governments, some of whom have budgets set aside for training in English proficiency skills.
AG: In what ways will be English Express different from other English institutes in India?
PM: The academy will provide state-of-the-art facilities with excellent infrastructure, Glottophone’s digital language lab and internationally trained teachers. There is also a special library to provide resources like journals, books, videos, CDs and online material. We would cater to all segments for English language training and offer an array of courses for young learners and corporate. It would also offer IELTS and TOFEL test preparation along with specialised training in business English, accent training and spoken English.
AG: How will English Express benefit from the brand ‘Aptech’?
PM: English Express has the brand name of Aptech, which has been recognised for excellent services in global franchising operations. With the same franchise model, this new model has also been moulded in such a way that both the franchisor and franchisees equally share the risks involved in business.
AG: How many centers do you have at present and in which all cities? What are the future target locations for your expansion?
PM: We currently have four centres in Bengaluru and our plan is to roll out around 80-100 such centres in 12 months which is laid down in three stages. The initial expansion will happen in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
AG: Are you planning to expand through franchised route?
PM: Yes, we plan to spread out across India through franchise route; however our business model would include a mix of franchised, company owned centres and collaborations with universities, colleges and corporates.
AG: What kind of training and support a franchisee would get when partnering with you?
PM: The brand equity of Aptech Ltd has its inherent strengths. An English Express franchisee would have the advantage of being associated with a market leader with well defined systems and procedures, an ISO certified organisation with world class quality, rich training content and immense support from the parent company. So, definitely an Aptech franchisee is in a winning proposition.
Besides this, an English Express franchisee would have access to marketing material, advertising collaterals, training for the marketing and the faculty members, faculty certification, academic, examination and logistic support, product manuals, teachers and student guides, CBTs, centre automated system, course ware, focused business plans, press publicity and consistent handholding and review by the parent company to ensure that the centre is on the right track.
AG: Is education background essential to secure a franchise of English Express?
PM: While selecting a franchisee, we look for like-minded people who share our passion for reaching quality education to people. Most of our franchisees are professionally qualified. Since we are in the business of training and education, it is important that the franchisees are well-qualified, evolved individuals, with a strong customer orientation. A space of 900 to1,200 sq. ft at a high visibility location would be required along with 8 -12 lakh of investment from the franchisee.