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Apr, 01 2014

A winning deal for women

Are you ready to invest into a multi billion dollar industry? Stats confirm that almost 90% of brands in pre school education have so far aligned with women franchisees and are now capturing the market share in tier II and III cities after metros. Read to

You know why women are most preferred in a pre school business? It's because, education is hyped as the most preferred sector which can be set up smoothly from a comfort of home. Preschool business is a flexible business opportunity as it helps in creating a balance between managing the family and business related commitments. And, the investment is not a major hassle. All thanks goes to the business of franchising which has made it feasible to turn their dreams into reality.

In today's times, a never-ending demand for quality education combined with right ambience is what every parent looks for.  There's a massive untapped market and increasing disposable income which in turn gives plentiful opportunity for pre-schools to grow. As the potential of tier II and III cities is yet to be tapped, the pre school franchising in India is projected to raise a healthy turnover in future. Reckoned brands like EuroKids, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL), Educomp Solutions Ltd's Little Millennium, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools, Planet Kids, Sesame Street Preschool, Time Kids, Hello Kids, Little Elly, Kidzee, Bachpan- a playschool, Beehive, Brats N Cuties, MRV International, Treehouse and Maple Bear Education have so far tasted success via franchising and today most of their franchisees are women. 

The business of kids' education has taken a quantum leap in the last five years. As per research report by CRISIL, the pre-school market in India is pegged at $770 million (about Rs 4,460 crore). The pre-school business is expected to touch Rs 13,300 crore by 2015-16, out of which branded pre-schools are expected to contribute about Rs 4,500 crore. Furthermore, the Indian Education Investment Report 2013, the number of pre-schools in India will reach the 33,000 mark by 2015 end, reporting a growth of 26 per cent annually. 

Pre school biz for women

The pre school industry in India has gone an extra mile to bring the best opportunity to franchisees.  To check out why preschool franchising is considered as the safest route for womenpreneurs, TFW spoke to various brands to know why they prefer to associate with women franchisees the most. Enlightening about the same, Raman Bajaj, MD, Educomp Childcare Pvt Ltd, says: “A large number of our preschool centres are owned and operated by women entrepreneurs. We have built strong franchisee support systems to guide our franchisees at every stage of centre set-up and ongoing centre operation. We engage with women entrepreneurs right from finalising a suitable location for the preschool, designing the preschool, training, initial handholding, ongoing quality audits and on-site training to ensure the success of the centres.” Amar Kapasi, Co-founder and Director, Planet Kids, informs: “Pre school industry in India has been one of the most explored and successful prospects in the franchising scenario since over a decade. Franchising in the pre school domain has been a tried and tested phenomenon with a win-win situation for both the franchisee as well as the franchisor. It is definitely considered as one of the safest business opportunity especially for women entrepreneurs as the entry barriers are very limited and returns on investments are assured within a short payback period. We have always encouraged women coming from varied backgrounds from being home makers to IT professionals to explore the path of success and start their entrepreneurial journey along with us.” While, agreeing to same, Prajodh Rajan, CEO and Executive Director, EuroKids International Private Limited, says: “Compassion, care and commitment come very naturally to women. Hence, womenpreneurs are a perfect fit for us at EuroKids.” On the other side, Amol Arora, Vice-Chairman and MD, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools, says: “We provide an opportunity to enthusiastic women entrepreneurs to work from home and give ample time to them to get ready for their business practice and accustomed to the schedule. Our successful support network provides guidance to various budding women entrepreneurs which gives them a chance to align themselves with the brand. Also, our training and research team makes it sure that our women franchisees are well equipped through regular training sessions from time to time.”

Opportunity in tier II & III cities

Undoubtedly, franchising as a business model acts as a stepping stone for cementing the brand's robust position.  Alongside tapping metros, franchisors are also willing to target opportunity which lies ahead in tier II and III cities as well. On confirming the same, Lina Ashar, Founder, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL), says: “The pre school segment of the Indian education industry is dominated by unorganised sector. The organised sector comprises 17  per cent of the industry, with penetration rate expected to rise to 25 per cent by 2015, due to the rapid growth of preschools in tier-III and tier-IV cities.” Talking about adding more schools, Rajan added: “Our preschools are already present in several tier II and III cities and will continue to expand further. Organised pre schools segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the education space and we expect a significant part of this growth coming from tier II and III cities in the years ahead.” Subsequent to spanning across more than 315 cities and towns, EuroKids is now targeting the tier-I and tier-II cities in India. The brand's franchisees are present in all major metros and also many other cities in all zones of India. South and West zone offers maximum opportunity to franchisees, followed by North and East zones. Prajodh Rajan, says: “At EuroKids, we would like to be a part of this growth story and consolidate our position as the largest and most preferred pre school in the country. Our plans are to add another 200 new EuroKids centres in the next two years and would like to take our successful concept to every town and city in the country.”  Whereas, Mona Singh, Vice-President, Sesame Schoolhouse Pvt. Ltd, says: “Yes, we are expanding to tier II and III cities. At the moment, our expansion plans are concentrated on the North and South zone. We are looking at another 50 centres in 2014.” According to Pritam Agrawal, Director, Hello Kids Education India Pvt Ltd: “We can see a tremendous future of pre schools in tier II and III cities and hence we are open to all four zones North, East, West and South.” KKEL would be opening 150 centres by this year end.

What's ahead!

As India's preschool industry has become highly saturated as many brands have already set up their strong base and many new brands are also entering the sector, it is unexpected to add that major players feel no competition in this fiercely scattered market with existence of many organised and unorganised players.  For a brand like KKEL, Lina Ashar says: “We have no competition and we do not target 50/100 centre per city like other brands. We believe that quality education is not what is taught, but how it is taught.” Talking about industry's future, Prajodh Rajan, says: “Going forward, we definitely see a marked shift of parents' preference in choosing organised pre-schools rather than unorganised ones.  We expect the organised pre-school share to increase from a current 17-25 per cent in the next 3 years time. This segment is also undergoing the phenomenon of price discovery and an underpenetrated market will lead the way to the emergence of a high growth market.”  For a new player on the block, “The industry will continue to grow by leaps and bounds, but only that chain of schools which will constantly innovate and be progressive towards inculcating newer pedagogies in their operations will be able to survive. Schools with an out-of-the-box approach to learning combined with a sustainable marketing plan will be the schools of the future,” positively concludes Amar Kapasi.

Who is the right fit for pre school business?

= Entrepreneurial instinct

= Financial stability

= Ambition of making learning a fun experience for kids

= College degree

= Keen interest in education services

= Passion and ability to provide good service

= Suitable location or property (leased or owned)

= Track record of work or business experience

= Highly committed towards business

You know why investing in pre schools business is gradually becoming an ideal choice for womenpreneurs? Read below to find out:

= Low investment

= Limited regulatory framework

= Minimal infrastructure

= Flexibility of timings/less working hours

= Can be easily managed from home

= High return on investment

= Short payback period

 

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