The only playschool chain that is recognised for its brain development expertise during the first five crucial years of a child is owned by Podar, the most recognised brand in education industry offering a quality education services for kids. In an interview Harsh Podar, Managing Director, Podar Education Network shares brand’s growth plans.
Priyanka Rai(PR):Brief us on the growth strategy of Podar Jumbo Kids.
Harsh Podar (HP): Since growth has no limit we keep on revising our vision. When we launched in 2001 there was dearth of good research based play way method pre-schools, so we decided to have a vision that was within reach, not in the air. It had to be achievable and sustainable. So our growth strategy was to strengthen all three systems namely; training, pedagogy, monitoring and mentoring, in the first five years and thereafter setting up our base to engage in aggressive expansion.
Podar Jumbo Kids is a part of the Podar Education Group which has been in the field of education since 1927. Podar Education Group has schools all across India and educates more than 50,000 students annually.
PR: How has been the brand’s journey so far?
HP: The first Podar Jumbo Kids was launched in 2001 in Santacruz Mumbai with 18 children. It soon became a favorite with parents because of its research based curriculum, play way techniques and parent partnership program. We also launched a teacher training college simultaneously so that the pre-school would always benefit from the latest research in the field thanks to the inputs of our training college. We then launched a centre in Pune and soon had enquiries from people in Mumbai desiring to open a branch. So we took a conscious decision to franchise the brand and started laying the foundation of branding, systems and training modules. We then launched three franchised centres in Mumbai at Andheri, Bandra and Malad respectively and then there was no looking back. Soon we had a Master Franchise in Karnataka and the growth was propelled by joint team work, focus on quality and stringent monitoring and mentoring systems. We then started the daycare franchising and today we stand successful as one of the premier pre-school and daycare brands being franchised in various states across India.
PR: What is the specialty of Podar Jumbo Kids services?
HP: The USP of our brand is customer satisfaction and the knowledge that in pre-school franchise business there are three customers to please; franchise, parent and child. So the USP of our brand is our ability to satisfy all three types of customers. Provides satisfaction to franchisees by handholding, supporting and mentoring them from 24x7. Another is our ability to give the franchise multiple revenue earning models.
Parent and child satisfaction with quality and research based child care and education. The difference is our curriculum, philosophies and research based practices and teacher training. Our specialty is also our child centered approach which we call kiducation that helps make every child unique.
Our curriculum is planned right to the very small detail to facilitate a teacher to focus on more important aspects of teaching and to better the teaching learning interaction with the young children. We are special because of our unique parent partnership and parent training program that helps a child get the same enrichment and nurturing both at home and pre-school.
PR: What are the company’s future plans?
HP: Podar Jumbo Kids will continue to expand nationally to different parts of the country and are even looking at going international. Podar Jumbo Kids has approximately 90 franchise centres and 60 management owned centres.
PR: What are the strategies that your brand adopted?
HP: What we have faced from others is ‘lowered quality and price’; we do not consider that to be competition. And our motto of dealing with the concept of competition is that we need to take a good idea and push it faster than the competition. And that’s what we have done, first by introducing educational philosophies and approaches from all around the world, then by basing our curriculum on nine intelligences and on latest brain research. Then by introducing a day care concept and very recently being the leaders in IT innovations in the teaching-learning process.
PR: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
HP: Requisite area is minimum 1,200 sq. ft and investment of around Rs 6 to 7 lakh.
The aspiring franchisees need to be dynamic, ethical, focused, hardworking, leaders and most importantly they need to love children.
PR: Share with us the challenges that can be faced by your franchisees? How can these be overcome?
HP: Franchisees may face some issues with regards to starting a pre-school franchisee but Podar Jumbo Kids makes sure that they are assisted in every step of the way. We handhold and support a franchise from site selection, set up, launch, staff training, staff selection, re-training if required, monitoring centre quality, monitoring parent satisfaction, monitoring children’s development and growth, conducting workshops for staff and parents, design of publicity and marketing, round the clock on line support cell, manual, dockets and videos that are ready reckoners for franchisees’ use, a fully detailed and structured curriculum, planning and support in events every month, support in parent partnership programs, a unique and interactive website, an on line counselor so that teachers queries regarding children’s behavior are solved. A teacher’s training program that ensures the centres have trained staff and support of interns.