Education entrepreneurs

Chennai-based couple M.S. Bala and B. Amudhavalli are joint promoters of Baala Gurukulam Pvt. Ltd (BG, estb.2009), an education company offering a range of educational and allied services including preschool education, whole brain development programmes and after-school activities for children. Currently BG runs four centres of Roots to Wings — a chain of preschools promoted and franchised by the Delhi-based Educomp Solutions Ltd — and Brain Train, a unique whole brain development programme for children aged five-13 years in its ten centres in Chennai.
Newspeg. BG is set to launch its own chain of preschools under the brand name Thulir in June. These preschools will offer a carefully conceptualised curriculum with balanced emphasis on play, rest, health and hygiene, sensory, life and kinesthetic skills development combined with basic language and numeracy programmes. Simultaneously, the duo will launch Kinder Lounge, an exclusive, childcare centre for children aged one-three years, which will function for 12 hours everyday and boast a caregiver-child ratio of 1:1. Kinder Lounge will function as a preschool for three hours in the mornings and an educative, fun-and-games activity centre in the evening.
History. An alumnus of Madras University, Bala is a serial entrepreneur who promoted Champ Infras-tructure Pvt. Ltd in 1991 in Chennai, and later diversified into the leather business (Bicasto Leather). His wife’s interest in early childhood education prompted him to promote Baala Gurukulam in 2009 and become a franchisee of Educomp’s Roots to Wings pre-school centres in Chennai. Today, Amudhavalli successfully administers four Roots to Wings centres with an aggregate enrolment of 650 tiny tots. In 2011, the enterprising duo promoted Brain Train which combines Indian and international techniques for whole brain development of children. Moreover, BG became a franchisee of the globally reputed drama academy Helen O’Grady International in 2011 and offers its drama programme, delivered by certified professionals to schools and its own preschool centres. BG also provides television channel Pogo’s M.A.D. live art and craft courses (regular and summer) for children aged three-15 years.
Direct talk. “Our objective is to offer formal and supplementary education and a range of extra-curricular activities under one umbrella. The focus of BG is holistic development of young children, therefore our academic and after-school activity programmes are designed to help children grow mentally, physically, socially and creatively,” says Amudhavalli.
Future plans. Having successfully established four Roots to Wings preschools and ten Brain Train centres in Chennai, Bala plans to tie up with major township promoters to establish well-equipped Kinder Lounge childcare centres across the port city. Moving up the value chain, BG proposes to enter the K-XII education sector by 2013 in partnership with reputed entrance exams preparatory major FIITJEE (Forum for IIT-JEE), to launch the FIITJEE-Baala Gurukulam World School with CBSE and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculums for day scholars and boarders. “We want to consolidate our businesses in Chennai before we take them to other states. Our target is to establish 50 centres across India within a few years,” says Bala.
Way to go!

Hemalatha Raghupathi (Chennai)