Innovating education via technology
Having a core expertise in software and Indian teaching pedagogy, SmartSchool Education provides latest technology based education solutions to its clients. In an interview, Mukul Dhall, Director, SmartSchool Education Pvt Ltd tells what makes the brand one of brightest emerging E-learning companies in India and its growth plans via franchising.
Namita Bhagat (NB): What is origin and concept of ‘SmartSchool Education?
Mukul Dhall (MD): SmartSchool Education Pvt Ltd is an E-learning company established by the alumni of IIT, IIM and DCE and is headquartered in Delhi. We always wanted to do business with a purpose and aim to improve the quality of education. We provide innovative educational solutions to various educational institutions in India and abroad. Our journey till date has been through both good and bad times. However, with a strong workforce of 110 professionals ranging from animators, software professionals, to education experts, SmartSchool Education today has become one of brightest emerging E-learning companies in India.
NB: What are the core competencies of the concept that make it unique?
MD: Our company has one of the largest repositories of E-learning content in India and our content and software strength is very good. Innovation through technology forms the core DNA of SmartSchool Education and we have added lot of innovation to our product based upon the feedback of our customers. Because of these innovations, we have been able to reduce our price and therefore we are probably providing the best software and content and that too at the lower price point.
NB: What all products and /or services does the brand offer? What is its market scope of E-learning in India?
MD: We provide both Instructor led solution (ICT - smart classroom solution) and self study solutions. The private education sector is estimated to reach USD 70 billion by 2013 and USD 115 billion by 2018. With more than 23 Cr students, the scope to do business in this recession proof sector is phenomenal.
NB: Tell us about your business model and share the brand’s current presence in India?
MD: We strictly follow distributor model. We realised it much earlier that if we have to reach to each street and corner of this country the only option is to have a distributor model. Currently we have distributors in every state of India for our ICT solution. Now we have taken up a huge task to build distributor of our consumer products in each and every city of this country.
NB: What are your expectations from the franchise business model towards the brand’s further growth? Share Smartschoolonline's expansion plans via franchising?
MD: We plan to make Gold distributors in each and every city of this country. We will then plan to supplement them with silver distributors and ATL and BTL advertisements. We want that our distributors should make huge profits which as a result with ensure huge profits for us. We plan to sell our consumer products to 1 Million students and ICT solution to 1,000 schools by the end of this year. All of this will be attained through our distributors.
NB: Could you also share the franchise facts such as area and investment requirement for aspiring franchisee?
MD: We want to associate with good people and not necessarily people with deep pockets. That is why we are not asking for any association amount. We are only asking our distributors to take some initial stock with a plan to sell the same within a month of two.
NB: What kind of franchisee training and support programme do you offer? How lucrative is the business opportunity for interested franchisee?
MD: We provide product training through training videos in both Hindi and English. We also provide them with a distributor document in both Hindi and English which explains all the aspects of selling in a very simple language. We also provide Demo DVD, brochures and other marketing collateral to our distributors.
NB: Where do you see the brand say in the next five years?
MD: We see ourselves as the biggest education company with a huge distributor network and with lots of products. Although, K-12 segment in itself is a huge segment but we already started working on lots of new products.