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Nov, 30 2011

HUB OF PROFITS

Arun Khetan, MD & CEO, NAKS, the preschool industry architect in India, has made a remarkable change in the industry by launching and setting up, I Play I Learn across the country. New Age knowledge Solutions limited (NAKS) is now celebrating success with

ENTREPRENEURIAL zeal and educational genes embarked the birth of NAKS. A Chartered Accountant with a thriving professional career as a successful edupreneur, associated with renowned organisations for over a decade lead Khetan to steer NAKS. NAKS was launched in April, 2009, to offer solutions across multiple levels in education.

With their focus to impart education services in and around K-12 value chain, NAKS has been able to set a network of over 250 own and franchise centres across India in over 30 months of its operations.

NAKS's early childhood care and education vertical marked its beginning with the preschool initiative I Play I Learn (with an option to integrate improved child care services) and has so far set up over 135 franchisees. As a forward integration, NAKS has further conceptualised Universal Minds' Global Schools, a schooling venture catering to K-5 and K-12 schools, which is geared for expansion. The landmark move was to introduce and set up over 125 franchisees of The Scholars' Hub, the integrated organised tuition centre concept, imparting tuitions from grade VIII to XII of CBSE/ICSE/ISC and state boards.

In addition of imparting tuitions to the school domain, NAKS further integrated classroom coaching for preparation of IIT-JEE, AIEEE, MHT-CET and IIT foundation programme. Aiming to extend its reach pan India NAKS recently added Learn Live , an innovative V-SAT enabled “Technology driven learning system” which offers near to real classroom lectures imparting coaching for high end undergraduate competitive exams. So far it has set up 10 Learn Live centers and plans to open 25 more by March 2012.

Replicating success

After achieving an incredible response for I Play I Learn via franchising, NAKS successfully took the plunge of capitalising in the most lucrative - the tuition and coaching industry- via franchise route.

As per research reports, the market size of coaching industry is USD 6.4 billion, 80 per cent of which accounts for tuitions for grade VI to XII and remaining USD 1.2 billion is for coaching. This is growing at 15 per cent CAGR.

The idea was to leverage the key drivers vis-à-vis the market and liberate synergies for a successful niche business model with prime movers advantage out of an already unorganised service viz tuition. Commenting on the same, Arun says: “The market size is huge and a receptive buying platform always welcomes a novel concept. Brands that enter the market with a proper business and service vision are always accepted well in the market. The tuition industry is aggressively moving towards consolidation and is poised for a healthy growth in an organised manner. Reflecting on the journey, when we had entered in this domain, we find it commendable to share that our detailed homework and the gut feeling that there was a huge potential in the market for organised and integrated tuition classes was right.”

Conceptualised, crafted and customised to syllabus-specific-orientation, The Scholars' Hub pedagogy and teaching methodology enables structured academic dissemination to foster excellence in academics of tutees from grade VIII to XII for CBSE, ICSE, ISC and other state boards.

Quality matters

Where quantity is identified in the competition, quality automatically rates high. Hence, The Scholars' Hub focuses in providing quality learning services, which in turn helps in creating an excellent word-of-mouth and thereby escalates their business. Over 125 franchisees of The Scholars' Hub and six own centres in 18 months is a testimony of their unmatched success in the world of tuitions. When asked about their success mantra, Khetan says: “I believe that the key to success is implementation, which is the strength of NAKS team that has credentials to set up over 1,200 franchisees. We are confident that with the learning and experience of our successful track record, the future has no boundaries and as such we can plan to set up over 1,000 The Scholars' Hub centres in the next seven years of our operations in addition to set up 750 I Play I Learn centres.”

Integrating technology

Considering the growth in this industry, NAKS has further introduced and setup the Learn Live Studio in mid-2011, along with a few pilot classrooms in different parts of the country to stream live IIT-JEE/ AIEEE preparation classroom programme. The idea was to involve use of satellite technology and interactive virtual learning systems to further enhance the learning solutions and to overcome challenges of effective learning dissemination faced by the aspiring student community. This has further imparted the required edge to The Scholars' Hub pan-India, which now has an option to offer live IIT-JEE/AIEEE preparation coaching pan-India at a much competitive prices.

360 degree franchisee support system

The Scholars' Hub has devised an intensive and elaborate 360 degree support mechanism, enabling their centres to deliver quality academic services. The challenge is to meet the demand to achieve “client delight” in terms of deliverables, systems, processes and norms, which are regularly being innovated and upgraded.

Training and support for delivery of effective learning services is an integral part of the growth system of NAKS. The Scholars' Hub 360 degree franchise support system is envisaged and packaged in such a way that it not only facilitates a franchisee to roll out the operation successfully at the least gestation period, but also helps them to get maximum returns. From business survey to site selection, required assistance in infrastructure setup, recruitment of staff and successful roll out of the centre, the brand also takes care to impart the enduring off-line and online support through its uniquely configured platforms viz; Online Franchise Support System (OFSS), Online Test Management & Information System (OTMIS) and Franchise Management & Information System (FMIS) to its franchisees.

Progress card

For NAKS, growth is an ongoing multi-pronged process. The last financial year was good for them, as they doubled the company's operations and number of franchisees. The company is aggressively working to strengthen its leadership position, while simultaneously working hard to launch their next product in K-12 domain in the near future.

Learning architecture

  • Learning mechanisms, combined with scientifically oriented study materials, inspires the study habits of tutees to acquire subject depth by regular revisions, practices, internal tests and regular doubt clearance sessions
  • Regular tests and consistent progress monitoring further inculcates the academic discipline within tutees
  • Neatly structured academic lesson plan delivered by talented and trained faculty with organised classroom tutoring enables the tutees to understand and learn the required subject essentials and imbibe the much needed scoring techniques.

The true trendsetter!

Being in education and franchising for more than a decade, Khetan foresees education business as a huge opportunity. Read below Arun Khetan’s, edupreneurial journey.

Most of it came from learning opportunities, which I explored in my professional career. The real breakthrough came when I headed the education division of Zee and education became my passion. Passion and profession in education enabled me to ideate the most innovative and successful idea of preschool in a business format. Conceptualisation of the preschool Kidzee involved a lot of extensive research, including visiting over 100 schools across the nation, gaining knowledge on various domains of early childhood care and education, understanding the preschool academic structure and development of a prudent business model to generate a business with a win-win revenue sharing model via franchising. Eventually, the largest chain of pre-school- Kidzee was created with hundreds of franchisees in India and abroad.

This further lead to introduction, conceptualisation and successful rolling out of the formal K-5 and K-12 school model in a franchise format- Kidzeehigh, ZIMA- the Zee Institute of Media Arts, Math a - Fun etc. Post ZEE, I had a short stint of over one year with Educomp Solutions Ltd, as its president.

During my entrepreneurial journey, I realised that we must never underestimate an opportunity. The need to provide education right from the beginning is imperative and this underlying philosophy became my genesis to work on all the models in education so far and it's the strongest foundation of all NAKS products.

  • It was rolled out to impart tuitions to students studying in Class VIII to XII FOR CBSE/ ICSE/ ISC / state boards in East India by 2009 end
  • In the second phase, the brand expanded to other parts of India
  • Coaching for competitive examinations for IIT-JEE/AIEEE was introduced at a few company-owned centres
  • As a subsequent strategy, NAKS integrated coaching for IIT-JEE/ AIEEE through 'Learn Live' a virtual classroom platform further imparting the required edge to The Scholars' Hub
  • Learn Live is an innovative technology-driven virtual classroom platform, disseminating live coaching of IIT-JEE/AIEEE/CPT/ IPCC/CA courses etc to students in remote areas across India
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