Michael Bateman - CEO of Grade Learning

Date: MAY 22nd, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Michael Bateman is the President and CEO of Grade Learning, founded in 1993 and Grade Math Programs, founded in 2001. Michael’s vision and leadership have developed Grade Learning from one Unionville children’s learning centre into an organization with locations across Ontario that offer a full complement of educational programs including: Private School – High School Credits (both in class and online), Individualized Tutoring, Career College diploma programs, ESL Training, and Continuing Education programs. Grade Math Programs is a supplemental math education program which Michael created as a secondary franchise opportunity.

Prior to creating and building Grade Learning and Grade Math Programs, Michael worked for 15 years in marketing and research for major multinational corporations such as AC Nielsen and National Packaged Goods.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Waterloo where he specialized in Economics. He currently resides in Etobicoke with his wife and three children. When he is not working on growing and maintaining Grade Learning, Michael enjoys hockey, photography and spending time with his family.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Grade Learning concept.

Michael Bateman: The Grade Learning concept is a full-service approach to education, serving learners of all ages. In the beginning, we started with tutoring kids and grew from there. We now offer a full service approach to education for both children and adults. With six learning portfolios to cultivate over time, our franchisees have the ability to expand their business on their terms. Grade Learning offers: High School Credits - Classroom-based, Online High School Credits, Tutoring, Career College Diploma Programs, ESL Training, and Continuing Education (including Academic Upgrading, GED Preparation, Computer Training, Employability Training, and more). Education is and always will be in high demand. We help our students succeed by focusing on teaching to the individual, rather than trying to fit our students into pre-structured programs.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Grade Learning?

MB: In 1993, I saw a need for a private education provider in the market place – someone who could offer high quality programs and services to consumers in need. That was how Grade Learning came to be.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Grade Learning?

MB: I graduated from University of Waterloo where I specialized in Economics. Prior to creating and building Grade Learning and Grade Math Programs, I worked for 15 years in marketing and research for major multinational corporations such as AC Nielsen and National Packaged Goods.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Grade Learning franchisee?

MB: Grade Learning has many advantages for franchisees including:

  • Strong customer demand
  • Significant earning potential
  • Flexible working hours
  • Freedom to influence your business
  • Continued support to ensure your long-term success

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

MB: The qualities we look for in a franchisee: an overwhelming spirit and determination to succeed; a commitment to working hard; a dedication to satisfying customers; a desire to take full ownership and responsibility for your business success. We want franchisees with integrity; Individuals who are community minded, enjoy networking and are committed to the franchise model.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Grade Learning Market?

MB: According to recent studies, demand for education programs will continue to grow over the next decade and beyond. Education is a multi-million dollar (and growing) market. Over the past three years, consumer spending on education has increased seven to ten percent annually. Canadians understand that they must look beyond the public and private school systems if they want the best educational opportunities for their children and themselves.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

MB: Education is always in fashion and there is always a need for it in the marketplace. As with anything, needs change over time and businesses must evolve to stay competitive and relevant. In order to grow, franchisees need to be active in their day-to-day business.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

MB: My greatest inspiration has been my father. I learned from him the work ethic and commitment necessary to run your own business. While we were in different industries, I learned a lot about success and relationships from my father.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

MB: The best advice I can give is to do your research on both the industry and the franchise. Ask any and all questions that you have prior to making a decision on which franchise to purchase. Look at the franchisees in the group and determine if this is a team to which you would like to belong in terms of values and dynamic.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Grade Learning would be a great opportunity for someone?

MB: Besides the advantages already given, the main thing is that education is always in style. Purchasing a Grade Learning franchise gives you piece of mind, knowing that our services will always be needed. If your passion is education, we can help you make your passion into a successful business venture and make your dream a reality.