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Kumon has 103 franchise with 11 company owned centres: Takaya Kitanishi

Japan’s Kumon, an after-school math and reading program for kids K–12, has it branches spread out in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi.

By Ekta Sharma Feature Writer

Japan’s, Kumon is the world’s largest after-school math and reading program for kids K–12. The Kumon method was borne out of a father’s love for his son. Back in 1954, when Toru Kumon, a Math teacher, discovered his son Takeshi’s math results were not as they were expected to be, he created learning materials for his son. This gave birth to the Kumon worksheets which have been helping more than 4 million students enrolled in over 24,700 Kumon Centres across 50 countries and regions work comfortably with the materials each day and steadily develop their skills. We did a candid interaction with Takaya Kitanishi, General Manager, Kumon India & Sri Lanka who believes in empowering their franchise partners who in-turn add value to the society directly. Read the complete interview below…

What is Kumon method of teaching exactly?
The Kumon Method is an individualised learning method. The starting point for each Kumon student is determined individually. Students start with the level where they can attain a perfect score by studying on their own. The worksheets have been designed in a way that allows students to figure out how to solve problems on their own. If students continue to study at their own pace, they will catch up with their school grade level and eventually advance far beyond it.

What kind of investment and area is required to be your partner?
Investment of Rs. 7-9 Lakh excluding the security deposit-depending on city, area and location. Area will be 300-600 sq/ft-depending on city and location.

Who is your competitor?
We do not have a direct competitor. We are unique with our well researched and tailor made study material that has been helping students since the last 60 years. However, if we consider the industry at large, brands like Eye level, Q maths, Abacus, etc are some who operate in the same domain.

How many branches are there and what is the total count of your franchisees?
Our branches are spread across four divisions- Mumbai (support office), Bangalore (Support office), Kolkata,& Delhi. Delhi is the head office of Kumon in India and Sri Lanka. We have 103 franchise with 11 company owned centres.

How do you choose your franchise partners?
We have a unique selection process. Initially basic knowledge in Math, English and vocational aptitude is tested. This is then followed by franchisee orientation, group discussion session and final Interview. Someone who understands the Kumon method, is open to learn from children and has a passion to be an educator and desire to contribute to the society makes for an ideal candidate for our franchise network.

What are the biggest challenges you see and how are you overcoming them?
Given the general perception of franchising, majorly skewed towards investing and getting returns, many candidates approach us with a business mentality. However, in our franchising system, the investor also needs to take out time and be an educator. Hence, this becomes a major challenge while choosing the right candidate. Others include identifying new potential areas for opening a Kumon franchise, lack of awareness about Kumon in the sub-continent, for which we are aggressively trying to market the brand.

What kind of opportunities you offer to the prospective investors and franchise partners?
We give them an opportunity to spread the Kumon method in their community which in turn empowers them to contribute to the society. We give better returns through a tried and tested and well researched global franchise model. Training & support on course materials, methodology and other aspects of Kumon through monthly as well as quarterly seminars and meetings as well as marketing support through annual brand campaigns, are some of the other types of support offered.

What are your expansion plans for this year? Any major focus cities?
We would like to reach out to every corner of India gradually and give every child an opportunity to experience this unique methodology of Kumon. However, as of now we are primarily focusing on tier 2 cities. 

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