Canadian EdTech company LaunchLife International added a second children’s education franchise to its portfolio when it purchased Engineering for Kids in 2020. CEO Darryl Simsovic gives us the inside track on its latest acquisition
Why did LaunchLife International decide to purchase the Engineering For Kids business?
Education is the main focus of our investing strategy. Education is an important industry. It’s large, recession-proof and always growing. But most importantly, a business in education gives the satisfaction of impacting many lives. By owning an education company, you have the opportunity to give back to your community. It’s one of the most rewarding services you can provide.
In education, the business model we believe in is through franchising.
From a central point of view, franchises are more efficient to handle processes, marketing, curriculum and technologies. Franchisees are closely connected to their own community and therefore more efficient to provide a bespoke service of the highest quality.
Engineering For Kids is that type of operation, focusing on education and operated through a network of franchisees across the globe. Also, the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) space is an important one and it creates synergies with other brands we are currently operating, such as School is Easy, which offers one-to-one tutoring.
Tell us about Engineering For Kids
Engineering For Kids offers fun and interactive activities to help kids learn science, technology, engineering and maths.
The company delivers afterschool programmes, camps, parties and workshops, inspiring kids aged four to 14 to explore engineering concepts in a fun, engaging environment. Engineering For Kids has become a leader in STEM education, earning several awards and accreditations.
Learning maths and science while building problem-solving skills through robotics, technology and coding activities not only opens the possibilities of the in-demand future careers in coding and engineering but also improves essential communication skills and overall confidence.
What plans do you have for the brand in the UK?
The UK is one of the main markets where we’re focusing our growth.
First, we have Pitman Training, which is a 180-year-old brand that is well recognised and well established. Second, the UK is a market that welcomes education brands. We have witnessed this with the recently launched School is Easy franchise, which launched during the beginning of the pandemic and has so far witnessed meteoric growth.
Engineering For Kids is a fantastic brand with 85-plus locations and a presence in 30 countries. We plan to initiate campaigns to attract potential investors to become franchisees in the UK.
Why’s now a good time to invest in a children’s education franchise?
With a growing market demand for franchises focused on education, proven business models like Engineering For Kids provide a recipe for success.
Our franchisees share an enormous amount of satisfaction from inspiring the next generation of engineers and helping children succeed, all while owning their own business. As the effects of the pandemic will soon start to dissipate, investing in the education of children will become an important and rewarding venture.
What type of franchisee are you looking to recruit?
Investing in an Engineering For Kids franchise does not necessarily require a background in education or STEM.
The Engineering For Kids home office provides extensive training to our franchisees to ensure their curriculum is delivered at the same high level at every location.
Franchisees will hire qualified teachers while focusing on building their Engineering For Kids business. What is shared across our network of franchisees is a passion for education and enriching children’s lives, along with a strong desire to succeed.
How much does it cost to become a franchisee and what do you get for your investment?
Compared to other franchise operations, the initial investment is low at around £30,000-£45,000.
This business can be operated from home, with no need for an initial venue. Franchisees typically partner with local schools and community organisations to provide Engineering For Kids programmes in their facilities.
With the franchise fee, the operator will receive training, exclusivity to a market of up to 100 primary schools and equivalent institutions, marketing support and, more importantly, access to almost 500 hours of unique, engaging and fun curriculum in STEM fields.
Can you give us an idea of earnings potential?
The earnings potential will vary tremendously, based on the individual performance of the franchisee. There are multiple revenue streams, such as afterschool programmes, camps, parties, events and workshops. We can have discussions with prospects to assist them to make an informed decision whether or not Engineering For Kids is a good investment for them.
How big is the market for this type of business in the UK?
All numbers point to a very lucrative market. The size of the childcare sector, which includes children 12 and younger, is estimated to be worth £5 billion. And with the trend of both parents working, the need for afterschool programmes keeps increasing.
According to the UK government website, in 2019- 2020 there were more than 24,000 schools in the UK serving an estimated population of nine million pupils. STEM programmes provide both education and fun activities, so we’re confident that these types of initiatives will capture an important part of the market.
Where do you see the brand in five years’ time?
The size of the UK market allows for 200 to 300 Engineering For Kids franchisees.
We anticipate that in the coming five years we will see an important growth and penetration between 25 to 50 per cent, which implies we may see more than 100 to 150 locations in the UK by the end of 2025.