Aiming to entirely revolutionise the professional training industry by empowering minds, the Dubai based ‘Blue Ocean’ is expanding worldwide. In an interview, Sathya Menon, Progam Director, Blue Ocean Academy shares the brand’s success story.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Tell us about the origin, growth and success of Blue Ocean Academy?
Sathya Menon (SM): Blue Ocean, with the uniqueness of training programs, niche affiliations with most prestigious international certifying bodies and proven career progression to the clients have gained credentials as an internationally reputed brand and choice for management training and consultancy. With a small but focused and ambitious start in 1998 in Dubai, Blue Ocean in a short span opened offices in UK, UAE and India. The product leadership and the industry specific designed courses helped Blue Ocean to reach out to more than 14,000 professionals comprising of various nationalities from a spectrum of industry and organisations.
NB: What factors make your program offerings unique?
SM: In every generation, the investment has been in the future. To add on, it is indeed worth mentioning the shift in every individual in investing in themselves to enhance their career. The organisations have also understood the importance of investing in their people to optimise the productivity. This is here Blue Ocean has identified programs to cater to them offering right knowledge and of course the best return on investment.
NB: So, how many franchisees do you currently have?
SM: We have a very successful and profitable prototype in Dubai, which caters to students in the UAE and the Middle East and North Africa region. On an average 300 students enroll for Blue Ocean training programs every month. Operations in India started off with the first franchise in Trichur, the cultural capital of Kerala in May 2011. The company has another franchisee in India at Pune.
NB: Kindly share the expansion plans of Blue Ocean?
SM: Blue Ocean has an ambitious growth plan. We are aiming 100 branches in the next four years. This is not just off the spur goal. The product line that stand the test of time and economic conditions, profitable results of existing operations, and return on investment in the best break even time all contribute to the ambitious growth. Blue Ocean is looking at a pan India level in the first phase of expansion. Additionally, the opportunity will be opened up for other countries of the Indian Subcontinent – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh followed by the Far East.
NB: Why the prospective franchisee should opt for Blue Ocean?
SM: What every investor or franchise owner is looking into is affordable investment, a fast roll out and early return. Following the Blue Ocean strategy has helped us create a model which stands out and exactly meet the expectation. The initial agreement we enter into with the prospective investors is for three years for unit franchise and five years in case of multi- unit franchise. Our existing franchisees were glad that the Blue Ocean training centres were rolled out within 30 days, provided the hiring and training of staff including trainers were completed as scheduled.
NB: What is the capital and area requirement to associate with the brand?
SM: Blue Ocean franchisees include new entrepreneurs to established business houses. In addition to looking at the background of the investor, the criterion is very simple. With an initial set up cost of only Rs 30 to 32 lakh (which include the working capital too), and an office space of 2,000 sq. ft, the entrepreneur is all set to go. The exact investment can slightly vary depending on factors such as rent/self owned premises, location, etc. Prior experience in the education industry is desirable, but not mandatory.
NB: What kind of training and support is given to the franchisees?
SM: Blue Ocean will bear the inception cost per franchisee set-up. This will include transfer of technology and systems, design of marketing and advertising collaterals, website support, pre-opening marketing expenses and consultancy support for staffing and training. The marketing program is devised such that the company will do the national level marketing activities focusing on brand awareness and development. However, local advertisement and promotions shall be carried out by the franchisee with the support and inputs from the Blue Ocean management.
NB: Could you share the break- even point for the business?
SM: The break-even point varies from location to location as it depends on various factors such as; courses introduced, overheads, operating costs and business performance. However, the USP of this business is the faster payback period and the quick break-even point between 9 months to 1 year.
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