Legatum Fellow Spotlight: Prathamesh Naik
Mar 14, 2011
Prathamesh is working on creating a chain of branded schools in India based on the “McDonalds model for education” at an affordable $10 per child per month. Here, he outlines his business model and the significant need it meets, and provides an update on his achievements thus far as a Legatum Fellow.
By Prathamesh Naik, 2010-2011 Legatum Fellow
Background: Low-income private schools exist throughout the world and serve millions of children. The vast majority of these schools are started by local edupreneurs (education entrepreneurs) who manage them as sustainable enterprises. The low-income private school market is fragmented, unorganized and untapped by financial or commercial organizations and thus presents a variety of potentially ripe business opportunities.
Idea: Affordable Private Schools (APS) will create a chain of 1,000 branded schools based on the “McDonalds model for education” at an affordable $10 per child per month. The schools will be owned and run by local private edupreneurs. APS will provide the edupreneurs with expert guidance at every stage, including feasibility studies, operational processes, staff recruitment, educational content, curriculum design, performance assessment, furniture and teaching materials.
Business Model: APS will adopt two approaches to deliver its services - a build, operate and transfer model for inexperienced edupreneurs and a franchise model for seasoned edupreneurs who want to buy a brand and associated services.
Delivery: To deliver its services, APS will follow the “network enterprise” principle and collaborate with a wide range of credible service providers who bring a deep understanding of the sector but do not have the resources or formal business skills to scale. APS will provide a collaborative platform to match and create engagements between producers and consumers of education material (content, teacher training, etc.). Our franchise model will allow 1,000 schools to offer a standardized quality of education and benefit from economies of scale.
The Market Opportunity: According to the 2008 Indian Educational Report, by CLSA, Asia’s leading independent investment group, there are 78,290 private schools in urban areas with an average enrolment of 660 students per school. These schools account for 7% of total institutions, but enroll 40% of the country’s 219 million students. With over 14 million children expected to be added to the system by 2015, urban India will have nearly 100,000 private schools by 2015. The economies of scale enjoyed by APS will help these fragmented, unorganized private schools scale quickly and enable the APS network to effectively serve a million children across India.
Update: In the first semester, I presented my business idea at the MIT elevator pitch competition and made it to the finals of the competition from amongst 300 participants. Over the IAP break, I visited several companies in Silicon Valley that have launched education technology products that can be used in Indian schools. Next month, I am representing MIT at the Haas School of Business education case study competition and in the spring break, I am visiting Brazil with Alexander Kuperman, who is also a Legatum Fellow, to meet with schools and education companies that would like to expand their services to India.
This article appeared in the Legatum Center's Winter 2011 newsletter.