Currently, the childcare industry accounted for roughly $53 billion in annual revenue. With more and more two-parent households in which both parents work full time, a growing number of immigrant families and rising interest in early education, the demand for high-quality childcare is increasing exponentially. This is where SimplySmart child care center wants to make a difference and provide the right solutions to empower parents.
Founded in 2012, SimplySmart child care and franchising corporation offers a play-based and Montessori-style program focused on creating a solid foundation for children to build on. The company currently operates in Mississauga and Brampton, Canada and is opening up 3 more locations by the end of 2020. It has been involved in franchising for less than a year.
Harleen Laroia, the President, and CEO of SimplySmart started the company to provide an alternative to other childcare providers and her passion to make education an important part of early childhood led the way. “I was working a corporate Telecom job and my children were enrolled in a child care center. Every time I picked them up or dropped them off, deep down I knew I could do better. I wanted to offer children a better child care experience than I had with my own children, this is how I began the first center,” expresses Harleen. “This is the only industry where you get to change the future of this world and you get to make a difference since children are our future. Who gets to do that on a daily basis? It keeps me striving forward. I look at every child who attends SimplySmart regardless of the location as my child and want to offer the quality of learning and nurture that will help them develop and thrive to their highest potential. Enabling our future is the highest motivation a person can find and that is why we work in this industry.”
"This is the only industry where you get to change the future of this world and you get to make a difference since children are our future. Who gets to do that on a daily basis?"
SimplySmart has created open child care spaces and an environment just like home, for children aged 6 months to 4 years old. It works on the concept of SIMPLE. i.e. Safe, Interactive, Meaningful, Pleasant and Learning Environment for every child. It offers a comprehensive curriculum with healthy nutritious meals and a choice of program to fit the child’s needs. SimplySmart believes that its purpose is to fulfill the three main promises; superior aesthetics, superior service and superior program emphasizing the deeper understanding of the curriculum. The curriculum is designed to foster a love for learning and the ability to ask questions, seek out answers and build self-confidence, preparing the children for their future, providing them with tools that will induce curiosity and aid their thirst for knowledge. SimplySmart also ensures that the teachers interact, observe and discover what the children are interested in and then plan activities to expand the child’s learning opportunities. At SimplySmart the focus is on the holistic development of the child in physical, social, and emotional areas. The organization embraces and encourages its core values such as honesty, respect, gratitude and generosity, determination, compassion and responsibility also inculcating them into the next generation.
The end goal is to enable children to become future global leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and athletes, in turn, building a better future.
Furthermore, SimplySmart is a lean and environmentally friendly organization, which has gone to great lengths to create and refine its entirely customized SimplySmart App that eliminates the usage of paper communication. It enables parents to receive daily reports digitally on their phones, learning moments of their child that can be stored and shared with family & friends. It also allows parents to receive updates or important announcements and communicate with teachers via the chat feature on the App. While live streaming over the internet allows parents to stay connected with their kids even from work.
“Thank you, SimplySmart for our son’s positive and memorable experience! He will definitely miss his teachers who made him feel safe, comfortable and loved. We are happy with the progress that our son has made at learning, reading, and writing. His artistic flair was cultivated in the music and dance classes, which he thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to. We will continue to recommend the school to others!” shares a parent of a preschooler who attended SimplySmart’s child care.
Following the passion
Seeing the positive impact SimplySmart had on the communities made Harleen determined to delve into the path of franchising. “After opening my first child care center, seeing how hard work and determination allowed me to build my dream, I knew I wanted to share that with others who had the same values as I did. This is why I began the franchise process. I wanted to enable people to reach their personal goals of entrepreneurship and own a child care business themselves. I wanted to also fulfill my dream of building a brand larger than a couple of centers with my team of franchisees,” says Harleen. “What I value the most is having people on my team who believe in what we offer, stand behind our services and support the goals of the business as we move into the future. I value a team that wants to serve the clients in the best possible manner.”
Who makes a good candidate for a SimplySmart franchise? Generally, people with some background in management and experience in managing a team, understanding of business concepts and profitability, understanding of accounting and evaluation, understanding education and its necessity and finally, financial viability to start a business and sustain it. “People with a winning attitude who understand that business is about creating raving fans and providing the best in class service,” says Harleen.
As a close-knit family with limited bureaucracy and clean lines of communication, everyone at SimplySmart works together to ensure all succeed. Further, it offers full support to the new franchisees by ensuring that someone from the core team is on-site or available to assist them in any way possible. There is also phone support available with occasional check-ins, periodic meetings, and an option for teacher training whenever the need arises.
Ensuring a brighter future
SimplySmart is working on growing the franchise part of business, with plans to expand into other countries and to find different ways of making a difference in the education sector. It also wants to continue, being a part of building child care centers that provide exceptional quality education.
“It is amazing what a child can do with knowledge and good teachers,” says Harleen.