January 07, 2010 // Franchising.com // TEANECK, N.J. – Kumon, the world's largest after-school education company, ranks No. 1 in the tutoring category in Entrepreneur magazine's annual Franchise 500 list for the ninth consecutive year. The company attracts entrepreneurs with a desire to help children unlock their full potential so they can achieve more on their own. Kumon plans to open 200 new centers across the country this year.
The need is great. In middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13 to one, while in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
"The ability to read is an essential life skill." says Dr. Mary Mokris, education specialist for Kumon. "Access to books is critical to helping children learn to read and for continuing their development by reading to learn. More than 80 percent of preschools and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their students."
For the first time in the company's history, enrollment in the first cycle of training at Kumon University increased by 75 percent. Many of these candidates left the corporate world seeking a more rewarding career helping children. Kumon is an ideal business for those seeking flexibility. The center is usually open two or three times a week during after-school hours, and other than class times and monthly trainings, the full-time work schedule is determined by the business owner.
Kumon franchisees must have a four-year college degree, be proficient in math and reading and have an investment capital of $50,000 and a net-worth of at least $150,000. Strong communication skills, strong business acumen and a belief that all children can reach their full potential and study advanced materials independently are essential to running a successful Kumon franchise. The total investment to begin operation of a center ranges from $32,958 to $131,070, which includes the $1,000 franchise fee and $1,000 materials fee.
Market Trends and Kumon Expansion Plans:
The Mid-Atlantic region is the fastest growing area in the United States with a 12 percent growth rate. In 2009, 10 new centers opened, half of those were in the District of Columbia suburbs. The region continues to expand, with seven trainees scheduled to open centers in 2010. The candidates are primarily Kumon mothers who see the value of the program and want to help children in their communities. In Charlotte, North Carolina, 100 percent of the openings were former banking managers seeking a more rewarding career.
The Southwest continues to grow at a rapid pace. In the last 18 months, Kumon opened 12 new centers in the region contributing to a significant growth in enrollment. The newest centers to open in Sandy, Utah, and Aurora, Colorado have grown at the fastest rate of any centers in Kumon's history and are the top performing new centers in North America. Utah continues to be a state with enormous potential with only two centers. Southern California also continues to grow. In the last few months, three new centers opened in the San Fernando Valley and nine new centers will open in the Los Angeles area this year. The candidates are from a variety of backgrounds including medicine, information technology and finance.
Layoffs are helping Kumon find more candidates in Northern California and Nevada. In the last three years, 22 franchisees entered the Kumon system. Sacramento and Marin Counties have enormous potentials for growth, including in Corte Madera, Fairfax, Novato and Mill Valley. Carson City and Washoe County are prime locations for opening Kumon Centers.
In the Northwest, successful moms with young children are leaving corporate careers with long commutes and traditional working schedules for the freedom of owning their own business with flexible hours. These women come from different backgrounds in finance, engineering, teaching and the Air Force, but they all share a passion for children and helping their communities. In the past five years, the Northwest has opened 13 centers and has aggressive expansion plans to open in North and South Sound and Spokane, Washington and Boise, Idaho.
In the Midwest, a different trend is emerging. Recently, five Kumon fathers opened centers. The franchisees came from the legal and engineering fields, and were seeking a new challenging career. In 2009, six franchises opened in Illinois and this number is expected to double in 2010. Aggressive expansion plans are underway in Minneapolis as the market shows tremendous potential.
The Northeast is the second fastest growing area with a 6.66 percent growth rate. Four years ago, Kumon had only opened two new centers north of Boston but in 2009, the company opened four new centers. The franchisees are all Kumon parents with backgrounds in education or engineering, with a strong desire to help society as well as their own children's development. New Jersey recently opened two new centers and has seven candidates in training. The franchisees are parents with engineering or technology backgrounds, who want to open a business that will benefit the community.
In the South, new trainees influenced by the slow economy are opening centers to help children and pursue their lifetime dream of being their own boss. Arkansas is an emerging market for those who aspire to work with children. Centers opened in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Bentonville and Lowell and a new center will open in Fayetteville. There are opportunities for five more centers in the Little Rock area. Texas is also a growing market with 20 trainees already scheduled to open in 2010. Just in 2009, five centers opened in Houston and four in Dallas. San Antonio also shows enormous potential.
Hawaii has the strongest U.S. brand awareness and market penetration at 5.4 percent. The greatest opportunity for expansion is in Kauai. Hawaii is a bit different from the mainland in that centers are allowed to open in schools or other non-commercial locations making it an even more economically feasible franchise opportunity.
Kumon currently has 1,600 franchises in the United States, Canada and Mexico and more than 500 employees in 20 North American cities. Parents interested in learning more about Kumon can contact 1-800-ABC-MATH.
About Kumon Math and Reading Centers
Kumon [Koo-mon] is an after-school math and reading program. The learning method uses a systematic individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration, and develop better study skills. Kumon has 26,000 Kumon Centers in 46 countries and more than four million students studying worldwide.
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