Aiming to make individual’s career dreams come true, Career Launcher is seeking further expansion in the Middle East. In an interview, Dipanjan Das, SVP & Member-Management Council, CL shares company’s growth plans in the region.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us about the inception and concept of Career Launcher (CL)?
Dipanjan Das (DD): CL Educate Ltd is Asia's leading education service provider led by a team of IIT-IIM Alumni, with a passion for education. Since its inception in 1995, it has focused on academic excellence, technological innovation and domain expertise to work towards its core objective of 'Enabling individuals to realise their potential and making their career dreams come true.'
Over the last 15 years, CL has established itself as a national player in the field of test prep. Today, it functions across a broad spectrum of educational services including K-12 schools, higher education and vocational training. Currently, CL is present in more than 175 cities/towns of India with educational infrastructure in the form of learning centres in excess of 225 in number.
NB: When did the company opt for the franchise route for expansion? Since how long ‘CL’ has been present in Middle East?
DD: We began franchising in 1999 in India. The brand has been present in Middle East since 2003 through 100 per cent subsidiary of CL India based in UAE.
NB: What were the motivating factors for expansion in Middle East?
DD: CL has international presence in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and offers various educational services to its students in these countries. Presence of the large Indian expatriate population and lack of career guidance and training opportunities for the young motivated us to expand our brand presence in the region.
NB: How many franchise locations do you have in Middle East at present and do you have any expansion plans at the moment?
DD: Currently, we have three centres operating in the United Arab Emirates i.e., one each in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi and they all are franchised centres. Further as a part of the growth and expansion plans, CL is looking for partners in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in the following locations; Kuwait, Doha (Qatar), Muscat (Oman), Bahrain.
NB: What were the initial challenges that the company faced while expanding in Middle East especially in terms of government regulations and franchise authorities?
DD: We had to face issues of licensing and the categorisation of businesses as these keep on changing frequently.
NB: Is there any difference between company’s franchise system in India and Mid-East? What products/services do the centres offer in the Middle East?
DD: No, the franchise system is broadly similar, except the fact that you need to help acquire resources from India. Presently, we have programme offerings such as Engineering entrance, GMAT, SAT in the region’s market. We are going to expand our product portfolio by adding preparation programmes for Accountancy (ACCA) and LSAT for Law.
NB: What is the scope of education sector in Mid-East? Are you satisfied with your franchise journey in the region so far?
DD: The scope of education sector is huge in the Middle East region. There is very strong South Asian population which prioritises education before anything else which continues to be the highest non-food expense pan South Asia. There are not many career guidance and training organisations for them. Yes, we are satisfied with the journey and are looking at acquiring business partners for Doha, Manama, Riyadh, Kuwait and Muscat.
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