With over 109 years of experience, the Group has established presence across Asia, Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. In an interaction, Derek Price, CEO, Linguaphone Group shares brand’s development plans in India.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Tell us about the origin and development of the ‘Linguaphone Group’.
Derek Price (DP): The Linguaphone Group is a world-leading provider of language training solutions, operating under the internationally recognised Linguaphone, Direct English and Pingu’s English brand names. With over 109 years of experience, the Group has an extensive network of licensed partners across Asia, Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. The Group has also helped millions of people learn a new language through their wide-ranging portfolio of self-study products sold in over 60 countries.
NB: The group has recently introduced its Pingu’s English programme in India. How suitable is the brand for the Indian market?
DP: Pingu’s English is an educational, fun and entertaining children's English language course based on the popular animated television character, Pingu. It is a three-level course developed by leading child education and language acquisition experts. This unique syllabus uses a wide variety of imaginative activities and multimedia resources to teach English to young children of three to seven plus years in a new and exciting way. Designed for use within Pingu’s English Schools, kindergartens and also by parents and children at home, it is exclusive to the Linguaphone Group.
There is no doubt in my mind, from the interest in Pingu's English, that Indian parents here recognise that learning English is essential for a child. We foresee a very bright future for the brand in India.
NB: What is the USP of the brand?
DP: Unlike so many other English language courses, Pingu's English engages children from the start with exciting topics and situations. The programme builds confidence in the use of English from an early age. Unlike other providers, it develops vital skills not just in reading and writing, but speaking and listening in English too. No previous English language knowledge is necessary either!
NB: What is the franchise model for your brand in India?
DP: The Linguaphone Group has recently appointed Early Learners Edu Services Pvt. Ltd as our exclusive Pingu’s English Master Licensee for India. They will launch Pingu’s English later this year, through their chain of premium pre-schools and daycare learning centers. They are now interested to hear from kindergartens and other early year’s providers, distributors and entrepreneurs alike to help bring Pingu’s English to young children across India. We anticipate that they will sign a mixture of state and unit licenses across India, as well as agreeing delivery of our program through conversion and program licensing channels.
NB: Have you customised the concept for Indian market?
DP: Pingu’s English is a complete learning system and as such the methodology does not need to be tailored for the Indian market. However, using their experience in providing a balanced curriculum to the Indian market, brand’s Master franchisee will be perfectly placed to tailor the parent and teacher’s support material to best suit the requirements of the Indian market.
NB: What is capital and infrastructure requirement to partner with you as franchisee?
DP: This will ultimately be determined by our Master Licensee in India, and of course the business model employed. For those already running a kindergarten integrating Pingu’s English is likely to be quite straightforward. However those wanting to exploit a State License for Pingu are English would require an initial set-up and marketing costs. Pingu’s English India has a range of flexible business models available.
NB: What are the qualifications for a franchisee to partner with your brand?
DP: While it is important that you share a passion for education, it’s not essential to have any prior experience in children’s English language-training market to enjoy success with Pingu’s English in India. Instead, our partner will be looking for ambitious and enthusiastic business people who wish to work with us across India to develop the brand. People, who are prepared to work hard, build relationships, have excellent communication skills and possess the business acumen to seize this lucrative opportunity. Pingu’s English India would be particularly interested to hear from investors looking for a new and rewarding opportunity, kindergartens, crèches and day-care nurseries already involved in early year’s education, and adult language training businesses looking to diversify.
NB: What kind of marketing and training support do you provide to your franchisee?
DP: When you join our network in India, you will receive all the training, teaching materials, and business, marketing and PR support, not just to get you started, but on a ongoing basis. This will include a comprehensive training program and access to our management and teacher’s manuals and a dedicated business development manager.
NB: Could you share break even period – ROI facts for the franchise?
DP: The break even period and ROI will depend on the business model employed. However, the global brand appeal of Pingu combined with the reputation of the Linguaphone Group will ensure a strong competitive advantage from the start. By using the Pingu’s English proven language-training system, there are potentially quick set-up times, so you can start earning sooner. There are also flexible business models to suit your goals. And most importantly, the English language training market offers high demand, high growth and potentially high profits for people considering investing in the Pingu’s English program.