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Jul, 03 2015

Preschools: Single spot, double jackpot for women

Majority of the pre-school and daycare brands have 80% of women as their franchisees and are doing exceptionally well in their fields. Let's find out how the womenpreneurs, juggling between the household chores and family's well being, sail through the pr

The idea of pre-schools, daycare and activity centres have emerged as one of the hottest trends in the Indian education arena. And the aforesaid sectors are touted to be best managed by women as they have ability to nurture children along with the business. Pre-schools, daycare and activity centres are witnessing huge growth thereby entering the organised pedestal in the Indian education sector. Well, to upbeat with the latest trend of running a successful edu-biz by womenpreneurs, the fairer sex are leaving no stones unturned to prove that women can do wonders in running the pre-schools skillfully as well as profitably.

With aplenty disposable income, busy schedule and the never-ending demand for quality education have created a humungous market for pre-school and daycare centres in India. To cater to the untapped locations of tier-II and III cities, many more indigenous and foreign pre-school chains are mushrooming across India, offering opportunity to the women investors to show their professional side up.

If studies are to be believed, the pre-primary education sector is projected to fetch rich turnover in the time to come via the franchise route. Leading players in the segment include EuroKids, Kidzee, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL), Little Millennium- Educomp Solutions Ltd's, SHEMROCK and SHEMFORD Group of Schools, Planet Kids, Sesame Street Preschool, Time Kids, Hello Kids, Bachpan- a playschool, Beehive and Maple Bear Education. All of these brands have been successful via their diligent women franchisees pan-India.

Market at a glance

= A CRISIL research indicates that the pre-school market would grow at a CAGR of 20.6% to reach Rs 133 billion by FY15 from Rs 43 billion in FY10. It also indicates the share of organised players to increase to 34% by FY16 from 11% in FY10 on the back of the rising awareness about quality pre-school education, big expansion plans of existing players and the entry of more organised players in the pre-school segment.

= Pre -school education is a 4000 crore industry in India with the growth rate of 35% per year (Indian economy growth rate is 7-8%).

= According to a market study it was expected that, the preschool market to reach to USD 1,833 million by 2014, growing at a CAGR of around 13% during 2011-2014.

Pre- school biz, a profitable bet for her

With rapidly growing pre-school industry in India, leading chains are offering best of their business opportunities to women entrepreneurs to explore from. Infact, majority of the pre-school and daycare brands have 80% of women as their franchisees and are doing exceptionally well in their fields. Industry experts also vouch for the fact that pre-school franchising is considered as the safest route for womenpreneurs. Raman Bajaj, MD, Little Millenium- Educomp Childcare Pvt Ltd, says: “One of the benefits of running a preschool and early childcare centre for any woman is that it requires a significantly lower seed capital than that of a formal K12 school. Preschools also have a higher operating leverage as it provides multiple revenue streams from the same fixed cost base. Thus, running a preschool gives women entrepreneurs, an opportunity to pursue their passion and also earn high returns on their investment.”

Like any other pre-school brand, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL) also boasts of having a large number of its preschools owned and operated by women entrepreneurs. Lina Ashar, Founder, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL), says: “KKEL offers entrepreneurship opportunities to young women in the country in the form of pre-school franchise. We offer special discounts to our existing women franchisees who want to open multiple centers within a region. Our pre-school business enables women entrepreneurs to maximise the revenue and minimise the risk via multiple KKEL products (KITDR, Day care and Toddler programs). This allows for a smooth transition from a house wife to business women through exposure across domains (finance, operations, legal, manpower, marketing and curriculum) in a relatively stress-free manner as compared to a K12 or supplementary sector. We adhere to the belief that all children have a right to a safe, developmentally appropriate environment and therefore we evaluate location and investors using our internal scoping criteria, prior to entering into a franchise partnership.”

Prajodh Rajan, CEO and Executive Director, EuroKids International Private Limited, says: “The content, execution, scalability, standardisation, monitoring and experience in the pre-school space are the strengths of EuroKids. These factors constitute our core competence. In addition to these we also enjoy a very strong business relationship with our business partners who see value in their association with us. All these factors make EuroKids stand out in the face of competition.”

Little Elly, a pioneering initiative of Learning Edge India Pvt. Ltd. who, in association with Glen Tree, UK (frontrunners in serving kid’s education needs since the last decade) follow the system of teaching kids in a relaxed, playful set-up, where children learn without actually being aware of the teaching process. At present Little Elly has an outstanding track record with more than 110 centers across India, present throughout south and western India including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Surat, Mangalore and Navi Mumbai. It seeks womenpreneurs as their potential franchisees offering them lucrative business opportunities.

Kreedo, a manufacturer of Montessori materials and other preschool aids are focussed on working in the Early Education space in India. Kreedo has been hugely successful with over 350 associate schools in 2.5 years

Single spot- double jackpot

Undoubtedly, franchising as a business model is a stepping stone to bridge the gap of follies while establishing the brand's robust position. These days several brands allow their women franchisees to run different businesses of learning and playway units via same location for maximum revenue generation. “At Little Millennium, we encourage as well as assist our women business partners to operate multiple businesses example preschool, day care and activity centre together, to increase the operating leverage in their business and thereby increase the returns on their investment. During summer holidays our business partners run summer camps and workshops too for children to further revenues while providing high value to customers via additional packages,” says Bajaj.

On the same lines, Ashar opines: “KKEL's business model ensures that the centre is optimally utilised for the franchisee to derive maximum benefit. This translates into a 12-14 hour operative model, which encompasses school, daycare as well as afterschool activities, all derived and rolled out with the same adherence to innovation and quality that's the hallmark of KKEL.”

However, Rajan adds: “We observed that the preschool space is a highly fragmented market with no entry barrier but a strong need for quality education. It lacked a standardised, structured and age appropriate curriculum and was run mostly by individuals with limited/ no experience and resources. This observation inspired us to take off. The strong need for quality education acted as our motivation. We went ahead with an intention to create a base in 35 top towns and cities and this could have been only achieved through franchise model. But within the first year itself we had touched 78 cities. The rest is history.”



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