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Apr, 06 2012

SPROUTING OPPORTUNITY

Every school needs the facility to enhance English language skills of its students; enabling them to use skills is what a Thulir's franchisee needs to do. Thulir offers a low-cost, high on returns business opportunity to create a highly profitable venture

INDIA is witnessing a rapid economic growth and is also considered as one of the brightest constituents of the global economy. But a shortcoming like low English proficiency rates across India hampers its growth. English is the key to many globalized economies and proficiency in English plays a significant role in a country's social and economic development. But in India, no more than 1% of its people use English as a second language.

Looking at this void and to improvise the educational process across the nation, Thulir, a skill enhancement solution provider, came into existence in 2009. It offers programmes in skill enhancement for school going children. Their programmes are designed for children from upper kindergarten to standard V. The brand offers students one-to-one training to enhance their skills in English. For the same, they have adopted technology to reach every student and work with him at his own pace and understanding. The brand's most important programme, Thulir English, is a six level English language learning programme. The course is delivered through online technology, focusing on systematic development of the four skills of language learning - reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Highlighting the salient features of the programme, P Shenbaga Saravanan, CEO, Thulir, said: “Catch them young”, the brand addresses this programme to primary schoolchildren, aged between 4 and 10. Children are taught the right way of learning a language. Their interactive and play way methodology ensures complete participation of the student and also gives individual attention to every child.”

Thulir's technology-driven programme

Mobile phones, once considered a luxury, have now become a necessity. Similarly, technology can make a difference in education too. Quality education, which is a luxury today and available only for the affluent community, can be taken to the length and breadth of the country at an affordable cost through Thulir's programmes. The scarcity of quality teachers in rural India has been a major stumbling block in the process of improving the performance of students. When asked about the benefits of the programme, B Sreenadha Reddy, CMO, Thulir, (Former Vice President, VETA) said: “Through Thulir's programmes, we provide consistent quality training available to everyone in need. We at Thulir do not run away on sale of our services; we are aware of the fact that the results do not come instantly on delivery of quality content, but on sustained efforts and continuous evaluations. With the power of technology, we get access to every child's performance and concentrate on addressing their personalized needs and shaping them up.”

Elaborating on the same, Ranjani Bala, Chief R&D, Thulir, said: “Today, not every student, who has the same graduation gets the same salary; there is a huge disparity between the skilled and the less skilled at the same level of education. We today have an education system that caters to age levels but an industry standard that pays to skill levels. That is the single most important issue that we wish to contribute to by building the skills of every child and lessen the disparity between individuals in the society. We won't see results overnight. It will take more than five years to see the difference. But that shouldn't be the reason not to try this. That should be the reason to do it now without any delay.”

Thulir English employs phonics for proper pronunciation, music and art to introduce key concepts, and it fosters creativity and independence. Their multi-intelligence based holistic approach, which lays stress on reading, writing and study skills, adds to academic competence of the student.

Associate to earn

Thulir wants to bring about a sea change in the way English language is spoken, read and written. The brand has confidence that their students will be able to understand English Language and will not consider it an uphill task. The brand aims to bring excellence in Indian education and for that they are partnering with schools across India and helping them to move from the 'BEST' practices to 'Next' practices.

The brand is seeking master franchisees and single-unit franchisees to strengthen their presence. After associating with Thulir, the franchisee will be responsible for identifying the potential schools in the given territory and take the product to those schools. He will conclude the business with the school for a given academic year and get the school to execute an agreement with Thulir. To associate with Thulir, a franchisee needs an area of 200-300 sq. ft as office space and a meager investment of Rs one lakh, which is not refundable.

Thulir's master franchisee will be selected as the key person for a given area. He will play the main role of identifying and selecting the franchisees in his territory. He will monitor the business implementation programme. A master franchisee will have regional trainers on their payroll to monitor quality related issues in the given territory, and also ensure the teachers of the enrolled schools are regularly trained and updated. A master franchisee of Thulir needs more space than a franchisee i.e. 700sq.ft, and an investment of Rs3 lakh. He also needs to invest a success deposit of Rs5 lakh, which is refundable after they reach a target of one lakh student enrollments in their territory.

Why Thulir?

Every year more than 12 crore children in India study in nursery and primary schools. Therefore, the opportunity is humungous. Even reaching out to 1-2% of this opportunity size can make the business viable for potential franchisees of Thulir, as it caters to similar category. Besides opportunities aplenty, Thulir offers a low investment business opportunity for a lifelong reward. To become Thulir's franchisee, one must have dedication and hunger to succeed. For this very reason they have kept the start-up franchise fee very low and affordable for any person who wants to start a business and is passionate about it. The franchisee of Thulir has to market the skill-enhancement service to school managements, and will have to facilitate the implementation of the programme thereafter. Through the coordinators, a franchisee will be taking care of the issues pertaining to quality.

As a brand Thulir not only gives you satisfaction with good ROI, but it will also give you satisfaction of service (SOS), having enabled many a child to prepare for facing the future world successfully.

Train to sustain

Thulir has a team of academicians, educationists, soft-skill trainers, corporate trainers, language experts, early childhood educators, teachers, parents, and school authorities. Wherever the brand expands, it makes sure the quality is not compromised. To deliver similar quality programmes at all schools, they have detailed out various programmes for their franchisees. From programme detailing to selection of schools to marketing, their franchisees will be trained and handheld till they settle down in their territory.

Brand Expansion

After witnessing success in about 20 schools across Chennai via the offline mode, Thulir is now eager to address the student community pan-India through their programmes with a view to enhancing the quality of learning and improving the standard of their education. According to Saravanan: “The purpose behind the current initiative Thulir is to make effective use of technology in taking quality education to the length and breadth of India and empower the underserved student community with the required skills to excel in the competitive global scenario.”

While English is their first product, they have couple of more subjects in the pipeline and will reach out to the student population with those offerings too in the years to come just to ensure the Indian student is on a par with international students.

Franchise facts

For a single-unit franchisee

Area: 200-300 sq. ft

Investment: Rs 1 lakh+tax

For a master franchisee:

Area: 700 sq ft office space

Investment: Rs 3 lakh+tax franchise fee & a success deposit of Rs 5 lakh (refundable after reaching an enrollment mark of 1 lakh students in their territory)

Expansion: Pan-India

Learn to earn

In this age of digital technology, economic globalization, and process and knowledge outsourcing, the mastery of English will provide the cutting edge to compete and excel, believes Shenbagha Saravanan, CEO, Thulir. In an interview to TFW Bureau, he talks about how and when Thulir was born.

Discuss about your entrepreneurial journey.

I started my career as a faculty in 1996 with Lakhotia computer centre and then moved to Pentafour Software in the CBT department in 1998. Thereafter, I joined the multimedia division of SSI Ltd and became the project manager. After a stint of a few years, I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2001 as a partner in Acetech solutions and registered the same as Pvt. Ltd. Company in 2005. I was always inspired to do something in the field of e-learning solutions. After developing many e-learning products for companies like L &T, SBI, Orchid Pharma, Veta, IFMR, RBI, etc., Acetech Global Inc. was floated in 2009. That was the time Thulir was born.

What inspired you to launch Thulir?

Children in Indian schools receive education either in English or in their mother tongue. When they study in English medium schools, English is taught as a subject. But being in an English medium school and not able to understand English comfortably, students find learning itself a taxing process. On the other hand, students studying in their mother tongue found it much easier to understanding the contents of the subject they were dealing with. We also observed that children were much smarter. But English being the lingua franca of the world, many students lose confidence and tend to conceal their talents. Hence, we identified English as the need of the hour and started with our development process.

What is the vision of your brand?

It's about seeing the world as what it can be and not what it is. Schools today have a responsibility of training the students to score marks and help them land in professional colleges of their choice. With the thought that an individual is not bigger than an institution, our schools are focused on a larger picture and do not find the time and effort to cater to every individual's needs. In the process of running after marks, we've failed to address the purpose of education, which is to empower individuals. As we live in challenging times, it is very important that we empower every child to take on the real world challenges on completion of their formal education.

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