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Aug, 10 2013

Children’s success, moms’ pride

Every component of the education sector be it vocational training, preschools, K12 schools or professional courses, is booming and rolling in profits. With professional coaching classes being conducted for offbeat courses like abacus training, the sector

Women are nation builders; it is fondly said as a child's first school of learning is home where his mother teaches him the first lessons of life. Thus, a woman is the backbone of the society as she is an institute in herself and nourishes the whole life of her child. In other words, the growing education industry in India has a wide scope for women entrepreneurs. The Indian education system is one of the largest in the world. The education sector is divided into two main segments: the core segment comprises schools and higher education, while the non-core comprises coaching classes, preschools and vocational training. The education market in India currently stands at a year-on-year growth of 15 per cent.

The education sector has attracted foreign direct investments (FDI) worth Rs 3,332.97 crore ($ 552.09 million) during April 2000 to March 2013, according to the data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Leading brands like Kangroo Kids, Aloha India, Sanford Schools, GD Goenka School, Hello Kids, Career Launchers, Aptech, NIIT and many more have women entrepreneurs as their franchisees.

With the organised sector in the market growing rapidly, the scenario is changing for the better. A major section of parents prefer organised players in the preschool and K12 segment. Thankfully, this would lead to rise in the proportion of organised preschools from a mere 8 per cent to 25 per cent in the coming three years. The sector will soon walk through the journey from a market with low penetration to a prosperous one as it is presently undergoing the phenomenon of price discovery.

The total market of preschools in India is estimated to be $1 billion and expected to grow at 35 per cent year- on-year as compared to overall growth of the economy that may range from 6 per cent to 7 per cent. At this size, experts expect the Indian preschool market to become the largest in the world in the near future. The preschool market in India is currently dominated by unorganised small one or two centre schools. However, this is rapidly changing with more professional branded chains stepping into the country. This is one of the reasons you will see a lot of international preschool chains coming into India and within India also there are many preschool chains developing. The K12 schools segment is currently pegged at $43.6 billion and is expected to grow to $141.7 billion by 2020. Currently, only 7 per cent of the 1.3 million schools are privately owned. Therefore, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the private sector to bridge the gap in education in a manner that creates value for the customer as well as is economically viable for the promoters. Moreover, this opportunity is stable and highly unlikely to be affected by economic cycles.

Fairer sex ideal for education industry

The education industry can also be termed as women's forte as they are mentors for their children at home as well. A known brand in the industry, Career Launchers, provides optimum opportunity to mompreneurs. Dipanjan Das, Senior Vice President & Member-Management Council, Career Launcher India Limited, says: “We are an equal opportunity franchiser. Anyone who is competent, possesses a good academic background, has a passion for education and training and is sincere and committed is someone we wish to associate ourselves with. We provide training related to induction, delivery (faculty training), business and financial operations, business development, counselling and products.”

While the Managing Director (MD) of Chrysaalis feels that women have a very important role to play in this segment. Sharing views on it Jaisimha Jaithirth, MD, Chrysaalis, opines: “The opportunities offered by Chrysaalis revolve around early learning. Women play a dominant role in this segment typically as playschool owners, teachers, etc. The franchisees/ trainers are thoroughly trained by the company to ensure faster turnaround in terms of a business opportunity and smooth implementation in terms of an enhancement programme.”

Speaking on the similar lines, Vanshikha Raheja, MD, Jigsaw Abacus, says: “With today's economy heading towards a recession, JIGSAW franchisee network provides best business opportunities for mothers who want to work from home which involve low startup capital and minimal risk- an affordable business that serves the needs and not just impulse. Our franchising module provides access to established standard procedures, operating manuals and stock control systems and also the access to group/national market research, along with advertising and merchandising assistance.”

Hindrances on the way

There are challenges and difficulties while starting and launching a business. Das of Career Launchers says that there are no unique challenges that a mompreneur faces. “Our systems and processes enable a plug and play business on the ground, which enables the business partner to hit the ground running,” he says. Jaithirth of Chrysaalis strongly feels that human resource management is one area of challenge. Having a strong bench of skilled / semi-skilled workforce would be a good way to beat that challenge. He feels that networking helps.

Raheja says that many women face problems while integrating business and family. Just because they feel they need to do it all and try to balance both. This can lead to the inner turmoil of trying to make the best of both worlds and that can end up in disaster. At JIGSAW, they have a complete and comprehensive support system to assist their franchise partners in developing a good educational programme. They will provide the franchisees with their brand name, course content, examination material and certification systems as well as technical and marketing support.

Spreading wings wide

Careers Launchers have designed an aggressive expansion plan wherein they aim to enter tier III cities in India and a few more countries in West Asia. Chrysaalis is currently at 160 + centres and is looking to hit the 250 mark by the end of this financial year. Jigsaw, nationwide is one of the largest companies in India, with a portfolio of 150 franchisees across 18 states. The company has planned to add 250 franchisees across all key states in India. As a part of their aggressive revival plan, they are fully prepared this time around and are therefore aggressively increasing their inventory preemptively.

Another leading brand in the education industry, Euro Kids, feels that the industry is on the boom and it would like to be a part of this boom and consolidate their position of Numero Uno in the next two years by adding 400 new EuroKids centres, thus increasing their presence to about 400 towns and cities from the current figure of 280. In the long run, it is their endeavor to have 2, 00,000 EuroKids enjoying their unique offering in a single academic year. They also intend to be a truly a global preschool chain by operating centres across the length and breadth of the globe. Currently, they have taken the first step in this direction by opening a preschool in Dubai and they will soon be expanding to the Middle East and GCC countries.

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