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Oct, 08 2013

Calling Edupreneurs

Time to shift the paradigms in early childhood education Aristotle once said: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” In a similar vein, potential edupreneurs across India can also taste the fruit of success by associating with Sesam

Associating with an international preschool organisation would be nothing less than a gateway to a successful career in entrepreneurship. Potential edupreneurs looking for a successful career now have a chance as Sesame Street Preschool is seeking partners pan-India.  Unlike most of the preschool franchise opportunities, Sesame Street Preschool offers a complete 360-degree educational experience to not only its students but also to its partners and teachers.

With the government seeking to regulate the preschool industry, branded players benchmarked to the best practices in early childhood education, offering high quality education, teaching standards and learning spaces are a winning proposition for children, parents and investors.

Sesame Street Preschool is the latest initiative of Sesame Workshop in India. Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that has proven impact in preparing children to arrive at school ready to learn. The Workshop educates through all the work they do from television to digital content to community engagement. They use their characters to reach and teach children and influence their behavior. Beyond ABCs and 123s, their programs deliver lessons crucial to school readiness, including health, emotional well-being, and respect and understanding, helping children reach their highest potential.

Sesame Workshop entered India in 2006. It develops and distributes high quality and engaging content through television, radio, community radio, print, digital and outreach to target children in the age-group 0-8 years.  It produces the educational television programme, Galli Galli Sim Sim. The Galli Galli Sim Sim television series has been watched by over 10 million children each year since its debut in India on national cable channels, Pogo, Cartoon Network and Doordarshan.

Sesame Street Preschool brings together the best of Sesame Street and Galli Galli Sim Sim's content, aligned as per the Indian guidelines to the Indian preschool space. Benchmarked to the best practices in early childhood education, Sesame Street Preschool endeavours to change the paradigm in the preschool space making high quality education, teaching standards and learning spaces accessible to Indian children. The Sesame Street Preschool curriculum and methodology integrates hands-on project-based learning, with creative approaches to foster critical thinking and problem-solving, making children ready not just for school but for life as well.

The Sesame Street Preschool, along with the Galli Galli Sim Sim television show, presence on digital platforms www.galligallisimsim.com, www.sesamestreet.org, and on other platforms like Airtel's video on demand, games on IPAD & Google play, aim to provide a holistic educational experience to children that goes beyond the school.

Educate and earn via franchising

Sesame Street, a brand that develops educational content for children, has been present for over four decades and across 150 countries. They have brought the globally acclaimed Sesame Street curriculum and content to the Indian preschool space through the Sesame Street Preschools. This curriculum integrates audio-visual, digital, print and outdoors in a unique set of activities to ensure that they engage every child. Their educators use specially created teacher resources that help them transact the Sesame Street Preschool curriculum and methodology. To educate children pan-India, they are now bullish on expanding via the franchise route. “The franchise model allows us to continue to focus on our core competencies of content development, teacher training, and adherence to standards of excellence. It also enables us to expand faster, especially to tier II cities where the need for high quality education is great. The brand is seeking franchisees who are aligned with our vision of providing high quality educational experiences to children,” says Sashwati Banerjee, MD, Sesame Workshop Initiative Pvt. Ltd.  When asked about their expansion plans, Sashwati said: “We are currently focusing on expanding in North and South India.”

To partner with the brand, a franchisee requires a minimum area of 2000 sq. ft on the ground floor with 500-1000 sq. ft of outdoor area in a residential or approved preschool zone. An investment of

Rs. 10-12 lakh is needed. A prospective franchisee seeking multi-unit franchise can also partner with the brand.

Sesame Street Preschool offers a preschool programme for children who are 2-6 years old. The brand is soon launching Beginnings - a mother toddler programme for children aged 1- 2 years old and a set of after-school programmes are also in the pipeline.

Quality control & training

However, there are a few challenges in this industry pertaining toprotection of copyright and maintaining quality standards, be it related to academic transaction, facilities provided or teacher quality. With franchisees running the operations, maintaining standards and high quality across all centres is the foremost challenge. Therefore, the brand has aligned with the franchisees and formulated policies and guidelines for regular monitoring to ensure adherence.

To ensure consistency in quality of education across all franchisee-run centres, monitoring of centres is done through a regular reporting mechanism and physical audits. In addition, most of the brand's materials are procured through a centralised system that helps maintain a standardised and high quality educational experience across all the centres.

Also, as training and support are the backbone of all successful brands, the training of educators is the most essential component of their business. Along with onsite trainings, they provide ongoing online and telephonic training throughout the year. They also provide their educators a Sesame Street Kit that is an educator resource used to transact their curriculum in the classrooms. This kit is aimed to enable and raise educator standards.

Sesame Street Preschool brings together the best in early childhood education practices, aligned with the Indian guidelines. They aim to change the paradigm in the preschool space by making high quality education, teaching standards and learning spaces accessible to Indian children. Beyond education, they lay great emphasis on child protection and safety, empowerment of children, positive role modelling, inclusion, mutual respect and tolerance, and parent involvement. This is why they welcome the government's move to regulate early childhood education/ preschools in India.

For franchise queries contact: Amit Malik at 91 9953555681 or email at partnerships_india@sesame.org.

Sashwati Banerjee,  MD, Sesame Workshop Initiative Pvt. Ltd.

“We are seeking franchisees who are aligned with our vision of providing high quality educational experiences to children. We are currently focusing on expanding in North and South India.”

Build careers to make a fortune

Sesame Street Preschool is the latest initiative from Sesame Workshop, a US based educational organisation that has revolutionised the way preschool children learn for over 40 years across 150 countries. It is a melange of international standards and Indian curriculum. Sashwati Banerjee, MD, Sesame Workshop Initiative Pvt. Ltd. speaks to TFW and tells about her plans of taking the brand to the next level.

According to you, what is the scope of this business concept in India?

As regards the business model, we know that franchising is the way forward for businesses to grow and expand substantially. According to KPMG India estimates, the franchising industry is expected to quadruple between 2012 and 2017. There is a scope for the franchising industry to contribute almost 4 per cent of India's GDP in 2017 (assuming 6 per cent Y-o-Y GDP growth between 2012 and 2017), growing from a current estimated contribution of 1.4 percent of GDP.

What does it take to build a successful franchise relationship?

In our view, a successful franchise relationship is based on constant and timely support and service, bringing benefits of visibility and optimised costs to the network that individual franchisees cannot do on their own.

What is the current size of this industry? How organised is its structure? What future do you foresee for this industry in the times to come?

As per KPMG estimates, the preschool industry, a $530 million industry, is growing rapidly at 30 per cent CAGR. With a majority of preschools being in the unorganised sector, there is a huge potential for branded players who are offering better and standardised learning and other experiences, to attract consumers to the organised sector. The proposed preschool regulations are also likely to benefit the organised players. Also with 20.3million households with children aged between 2 yearsand 4 years, there is a huge scope to increase the market itself.

Franchise facts

  • Investment: Rs 10-12 lakh
  • ROI: 25- 55%
  • Payback period: 2 years
  • Area: 2000 sqfton ground floor with 500-1000 sqft outdoor area
  • Expansion plans: North & South India.
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