Mr Shetty of MT Educare spoke at Startup Saturday Mumbai and later we interviewed him about his journey, entrepreneurship and education sector. Valued at over Rs 100 crores (i.e. 3 years back when they raised funding), MT Educare has explored a nation wide market that is growing at a rapid pace.
Q Can you tell us briefly as to how you started on your entrepreneurial journey?
A: Mahesh Tutorials began as a coaching and tutoring entity in Mumbai in the year 1988 and has now reached the status of a corporate entity as an Educational Service Provider branded as MT Educare, with a wide product portfolio which includes Pre-school and Day Care centres, Language Labs, Test Preps, Centre of Excellence for Training and Development and Corporate Training as its forte which attracted investment from Helix investments, Private equity fund in the year 2008.
The inspiration to start Mahesh Tutorials was towards taking up a bigger cause and making a difference with the ability one possessed – “Passion for teaching”.
Contributing towards a competitive education environment and creating success stories among future generations was the dream and the focus was to create, nurture and maintain the highest standards of teaching delivery.
Today, MT Educare has a strong presence with 172 centres across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, internationally in Dubai and approximately 2-lac alumni, all over the world.
Q You are one of the very few entrepreneurs who took the plunge before 1991; can you tell us how you felt about the changed business environment post 1991?
A: In 1993, when the Government of India liberalized the economy, a multitude of avenues were created. As capital norms, licensing issues and demand for trained human resources were brought to global standards, the decade ensured that education was clearly seen as the ladder of growth and a leveler by the common man, which has lead to a spend of 33% of middle-class household income in formal and supplementary education.
Q What are the fundamental organizational drivers which you identified that are needed for a startup in the educational market?
- Competent Faculty
The key factor being ‘Quality Teachers’, a systematic approach is adopted at the various centres for the development of teachers, which begins with careful selection and thorough induction, followed by grooming through teaching workshops, training on proprietary methodologies of content delivery and compensation as per industry norms, which in turn creates growth opportunities and succession planning for contributors.
- Mapping Consumer Needs
MT Educare has assumed the position of being ‘Academic Parents’ as an answer to the emerging nuclear family trends with both the parents at work and the students educational aspirations to better their lives in today’s competitive environment.
A conducive learning environment, backed by technology as an enabler, has facilitated result-oriented content delivery.
Q What are the key drivers fueling the boom in innovation and entrepreneurship in India today?
- Emerging work ethos and commitment to excellence
- Adherence to corporate governance and best practices
- Flair for entrepreneurship
- Continuing adult education
- Creative and lateral thinking
- Increasing globalization and easy access to various markets
- Government policies supporting growth and privatization
Q What are the new avenues in education that MT Educare will be pursuing in the near future?
- The education industry in India is booming because India’s youth, often referred to as its demographic dividend, accounts for over 50 per cent of its total population.
- There is a greater awareness to get an education, among the masses, but the majority of those who receive education are catered to by the state-run schools where the quality is generally not up-to-the mark. Constraints in creating infrastructure and improving the quality of education are forcing the state to revisit the existing policy of not permitting the private sector “for profit” model.The Government has finally accepted the inevitability of involvement of private sector in education in order to provide access to quality education at affordable cost to all sections of society, with Public-Private partnership, the supplementary education players like MT Educare are poised to enter mainstream education.
- In addition to this, MT Educare is exploring the possibility of delivering Higher Education, Vocational Training, Distance and Online learning and tie-ups with foreign universities.
Q Any plans to fund/mentor new startups in education?
- MT Educare has not only grown organically but has always followed a model of inorganic growth by way of acquisitions of small players in the same sphere of operations.
- The product portfolio has also widened due to Joint Ventures with education entrepreneurs. The growth strategy includes strategic acquisitions and expansion in allied products.
Q Do you believe privatization will lead to better opportunity, more inclusiveness in education?
- It is notable that not just affordability, but also quality, has improved in sectors, which have witnessed liberalization and privatization, like Telecom and Aviation.
- In such cases, the financial burden on public resources is reduced, thereby freeing up the education budget for the government to provide basic amenities. This has led to private players ploughing the resources to create state of the art educational infrastructure and globally accepted standards for content delivery. Thus, the opportunity is created across the sectors for inclusive education.
Q Technology transforming education. Your comments.
MT Educare has introduced Technology-Aided-Teaching (T-A-T) and evaluation in the classrooms to promote engaged learning.
- Teaching is more efficient as it promotes curiosity and inquiry-based learning, making it a fun activity and recap being result-oriented.
- Students experience multi-sensory learning, which motivates them to self-learn and increases their comprehension, resulting in their being effective at the examinations.
- Use of technology supports all learning styles and facilitates dynamic scoring with instant results.
Presentation by Mr Shetty at Startup Saturday:
Interview by Saptarshi Chatterjee