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Education 2011-12-22

Profits On Fast Track

By Namita Bhagat Feature Writer

US based revolutionary concept FasTracKids is set to leverage the vast early education market in India. In an interaction, Nancy M Faunce, President & CEO, FasTracKids International, Ltd shares brand’s further growth plans.

Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the concept of FasTracKids?

Nancy M Faunce (NMF): FasTracKids is a unique learning experience for children aged between one and eight. Established in 1998, based in the United States, FasTracKids International created a revolutionary concept in early childhood education that encourages the 5 C’s - creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and confidence. FasTracKids is on the forefront of integrating technology in education. In a multi-media environment and interactive curriculum engages children using all their senses and boosts their confidence while they are having fun learning.

NB: What is the brand’s franchise model in India?

NFM: Currently, we operate under a direct franchise model. We also believe there is a great opportunity to establish a Master Franchisee/Developer in the Indian market.

NB: What kind of market does India offer for FasTracKids?

NMF: Since the early education market in India is so vast, there are three segments we target as potential franchisees: existing quality schools, early childhood businesses and stand-alone enrichment centres. We look for prospective franchisees with strong business backgrounds that enable them to customise their operations to achieve maximum potential profitability. In the past three years, the number of franchisees in India has doubled and the number of children attending FasTracKids programs has tripled. The profile of our Indian franchisees is an entrepreneur who also has a strong desire to develop educational skills within children.

NB: How many franchisees do you have at present? Kindly share your expansion plans.

NMF: FasTracKids currently has over 300 locations worldwide and over 25 franchisees in India located in cities such as; Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Bhopal, Nagpur, and Baroda. Our expansion strategy includes seeking quality early childhood businesses, schools and free-standing enrichment centres.

NB: What kind of programme customisation has been done for India?

NMF: Our signature programme, FasTracKids focuses on developing the good habits for learning include critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and confidence. In addition, FasTrack English is our program that teaches conversational English to children between the ages of three to seven. This program is becoming increasingly popular in India as children must know English in addition to their regional language prior to starting school. Indian parents like the fact that most of FasTracKids programs are only once or twice a week making it easy to fit them into a child’s busy after school schedule.

NB: What are the capital/infrastructure requirements for the franchisee?

NMF: The investment for an individual franchisee starts at $10,000. The total initial investment can vary based on the nature of the business. Schools and existing children’s education businesses with existing facilities and equipment will have a lower initial investment.

NB: What are the qualifications for a prospective franchisee?

NMF: Our franchisees come from a diverse background; however, our selection process seeks candidates with good business acumen, strong financial skills, a passion for child hood education and the ability to build strong relationships. Individuals need the capital for the initial investment and a minimum of three months of operating expenses. For Master Franchisee candidates, we look for knowledge of the Indian education market and the capital to establish a marketing, training and support infrastructure.

NB: How do you support your franchisees?

NMF: A vast network of support encompasses pre-opening strategies, execution of a business plan, site selection and evaluation, development of a 90-day marketing plan and pre-opening plan. Ongoing support includes the assignment of a personalised franchise support manager, marketing, special event planning, business coaching, instructor certification and ongoing training.

NB: What are the ROI/break-even facts for the business?

NMF: Throughout the franchise selection process, FasTracKids works with each prospective franchisee as they complete their due diligence and creation of their business plan. An individual ROI/Breakeven will vary depending on rent, tuition fees, staff salaries as well as whether programs are being offered in a school or a stand-alone centre. Based upon our experience, we have seen ROIs range between six months to two year, but it is dependent on the business model being operated.

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