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Dec, 13 2013

Lessons of opening a successful school business

Are you an educationist and looking to get into education biz? Your hunt for a promising business opportunity in education industry gets over as Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd (KKEL) brings forth two decades of expertise in schooling industry and offers the

You know why schooling business is growing in a full swing? It's all because of parents' varying choices, disposable incomes that have led to the sudden surge towards going in for all round development besides providing quality education to their children. This thoughtful gesture in turn has boosted the growth of schooling industry in India. As confirmed by India Ratings: “The Indian education sector's market size is likely to increase to Rs 602,410 crore ($109.84 billion) by FY15 due to the expected strong demand for quality education. Indian education sector's market size in FY12 is estimated to be Rs 341,180 crore.” So, this makes clear that education business is set to swing into high gear.

From pre-schools to high schools

The journey of KKEL was started way back in 1993 in Bandra, Mumbai. It was Lina Ashar who pioneered the child-centric education system in India. From offering vibrant ambience and quality education, KKEL is today known as the most powerful and successful brands in schooling space. Today, the company operates Kangaroo Kids pre-schools and Billabong high schools under its umbrella. Commenting on their journey so far in education sector, Raj Grover, Co-Promoter, KKEL, says: “It was a path breaking initiative, as the Indian market had never seen a pre-school concept that had the entire child development aspect encapsuled in a playful, fun and engaging manner. It became an overnight success with the likes of Shahrukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar also enrolling their children with Kangaroo Kids. Today we have host of achievers, successful business persons and senior professionals that prefer Kangaroo Kids and Billabong as their childs first choice”

Subsequent totasting success in pre-school segment, KKEL went ahead and launched its first Billabong High International School in 2003. This again was a completely new format with sports, performing arts, activity based learning all forming part of the school curriculum design. An approach never experienced except in residential (boarding) schools. The focus however was to go beyond academics and also develop smart, independent, confident students that can face the new world with much better life skills.

Franchise for profits!

Presently, the brand is operating 70 franchise and 5 company-owned centres across India. The company is keen about offering franchise opportunity to franchisees who are looking forward to take franchise of Kangaroo Kids in pre school and Billabong in High School. Besides that, the company would also consider Franchise owned Company Operated (FOCO) model where they can add value. Across other markets, the company would prefer to go for company-owned stores.

To help their franchisees for successfully operating brand's franchise, the company has an extensive training support in the beginning of each academic session, this is followed by continuous audit, classroom observation and teacher interactions.

Be it a pre-school or a high school franchise, picking the right franchise is not an easy task to do.  Enlightening on the type of franchise profile they are seeking, Lina Ashar Founder, KKEL says: “For us, every franchisee is a potential long-term partner and the most critical aspect to this relationship is the person's qualitative and social profile and his passion towards the sector. After this comes financial capability and so on.” At present, almost 70 per cent of KKEL's franchisees signed in late 90's and early 2000 are still with them. Many of their franchisees have opened more than one center. Many have renewed their contracts as well. Today, most of the expansion is through word-of-mouth and most of their franchisees are ex-happy parents.

Strengthening footprint

KKEL plans to add another 150 centres of Kangaroo Kids Preschools and about 25 Billabong International High Schools. For developing their brand through franchising, Grover adds: “We continue to be the most dominant player in the premium segment of pre-school and high school with a focus on child development and learning outcomes. In 5 years, we expect our pre- school centers to grown 5 fold and High School by 3-4 folds i.e. around 300 pre schools and 75 High Schools.” The brand would further be tapping major metros, mini metros and top tier cities for further expansion.

On the international expansion front, KKEL is reckoned to be the first Indian school brand to ever venture out of India. As of today, the brand is already having presence in Dubai, Maldives and Doha with almost 10 centers. Besides this, the brand is equally keen about exploring markets in Middle East, South East Asia and other developing markets. Considering the requests they have been receiving, KKEL is still very selective and cautious before they plan to enter any new market for expanding further.

For franchise queries contact:

Payal at Ph: 9167254187

Email: or

Raj Grover:

Website: www.

In conversation

Setting new benchmarks towards growth

In a candid chat with TFW Bureau, Raj Grover, Co-Promoter, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited shares his thoughts on how their journey has been and how they are planning to make a mark in education industry.

What is the USP of your brand?

Today, both these concepts have actually re-defined the entire pre-school and high school market in India. Almost every brand today follows this unique approach and design. It is fair to assume Billabong and Kangaroo Kids are the true 'Game Changers” and the “Innovators” of these concepts.

Today, what is so distinct about these brands in comparison to other renowned pre-school chains?

First, I would say both Kangaroo Kids and Billabong are more premium than any of the existing national chains.. It is a whole different market and parent profile being served by  Kangaroo Kids and Billabong therefore there is less of competition and better returns

Second, I would say, we are far ahead when it comes to academic outcome and student development as compared to any brand in the market. We have never gone overboard in terms of expansion. We have maintained our expansion plans in line with our ability to control quality engagement and output. To us both are extremely critical.

What other kind of recognition or rewards have you received by the industry?

Our track record is, we receive some recognition and appreciation every 3 months. In 2012, we were recognised amongst the Top 5 'Most Trusted Brand in Education' standing tall with the likes of IIT, IIM and NIIT. We win similar awards every year from Education World Magazine. Academically, we are rated 'par excellence' by many Indian and International entities.

What according to you is the market size of pre-school industry in India?

Pre school penetration in India is barely 4%. While in the mid priced range there is stiff competition, the premium range has maintained its exclusivity. This is the next big opportunity for those that who know how to ensure quality and control outcomes. Kangaroo Kids with its 20 year of experience has really mastered this art

What according to you is the opportunity in the High School industry?

High school is moved from its huge demand supply gap to a reasonably competitive space, more so in the mid -price segment. Premium brands have a lot to offer, not only from commercial perspective but also by meeting the gap between today's curriculum needs with the skills required for tomorrow. This needs a whole different approach to schooling and this is going to be in growing demand and need of the future schooling model.

Major challenges that budding franchisees face in pre-school and high school industry? How do you overcome the challenges?

Following factors to be kept in mind:

From price point (student fees) perspective how competitive the market is? Market is divided and served by price points and many franchisee's do not see the difference. Second, I would say is increasingly parents will get more demanding on schooling outcome on students lives, behaviour, academics and overall smartness, personality etc. If you engage with brands that understand and can deliver this, your future as franchisee is well protected.

To be in education needs passion, if your reason for engagement is pure business my suggestion is do not go for it. This industry needs a slightly different approach and if you are passionate emotionally and otherwise you can adapt to this approach and the task becomes easier. Last, I would say is focus on quality in everything you do. Cutting corners or taking shortcuts will have a short life in this market.

Is pre-school franchising successful?

All our partners have a profitable growth. Many have multiple centers and also keep renewing the contract every five years.

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