Pre-school education is dominating the Indian education franchise industry. In an interview Amol Arora, Managing Director, Shemrock & Shemford Schools briefs us about the role of the company in initiating pre-school franchising and its future expansion plans.
Abha Garyali (AG): Tell us something about the inception and success of ‘Shemrock School’.
Amol Arora (AA): Shemrock established in 1989 is the first and the oldest pre-school chains in India accredited to revolutionise the concept of early childhood education. Shemrock promoted by the Arora family, consisted of two generations of the country’s leading educationists with over 75 years of experience in the field of education. It represented an education system that was based on their 30 years of academic experience in India and abroad. They started a model school with the simple aim of creating a child-friendly harmonious environment focusing on the satisfaction of child’s inquisitive mind and thorough concept clarity. Today, with more than One lakh children already having received the foundation for success from its 120 branches, Shemrock is a leader in pre-school education and is a brand to reckon with.
AG: When and why did you initiate franchising?
AA: We got into franchising in 1990. We were the first to introduce the concept of franchising in the education industry. Realising the need for similar pre-schools in other areas also and being a firm believer in the neighbourhood school policy, Shemrock grew its network and in the process started franchising.
AG: What kind of training and support do you provide to the franchisee for the successful functioning of the centre?
AA: Successful operations of the centre need personal commitment and involvement. We are dealing with the up bringing of two year olds and it has to be done the best way. We provide the franchisees with proper training and guidance. Specially designed academic curriculums and software are also offered to them. We even help them selecting and training the staff.
AG: What are your requirements from the franchisees in terms of educational qualification and experience?
AA: There is no bar on educational qualifications, but most of our franchisees are professionals in their fields. They all come from different walks of life but what we look for in them is dedication for the brand and passion for education. It is very important for them to love this industry.
AG: How often do you up date the curriculum of courses and training manuals for staff and franchisees?
AA: There is an up gradation of curriculum and training manuals regularly. The management works on constant improvement. We make sure we are up-to-date with the industry and market demands, and so there is not a particular time to up date, it is an ongoing process.
AG: What is the investment required to run a franchise outlet of your company?
AA: The total investment needed to take a franchise of Shemrock school ranges from Rs Five to Seven lakh. This includes the set up cost and the working capital.
AG: How much time is required for a franchisee to reach the break even?
AA: The break-even may be reached after 40 admissions.
AG: How many centres do you plan to open by 2012?
AA: We plan to take our count to 300-350 by 2012.
AG: What are your preferred locations in term of opening the schools?
AA: We are already well placed in northern India. Our aim is to cover the rest of the country equally well and spread the Shemrock history far and beyond outside the boundaries of our nation.