Interview - President & CEO of Grade Math Programs

Date: OCT 4th, 2010

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Michael Bateman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Grade Learning, founded in 1993 and Grade Math Programs, founded in 2001. Michael’s vision and leadership have developed the business from one Unionville children’s learning centre into an organization with locations across Ontario that offer a full complement of educational programs including Specialized Training, Career College, Private School – High School Credits, Individualized Tutoring, ESL, Corporate Training and Grade Math Programs.

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 Nielson 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, three children and dog. When he is not working on growing and maintaining Grade Learning, Michael enjoys hockey, photography and spending time with his family.

BeTheBoss - What’s the story behind Grade Math Programs?

Michael Bateman - Grade Math Programs is designed with a single purpose: to give children from Primary to Grade 10 the basic skills to meet and exceed the real life expectations of the Ontario math curriculum. As the President and CEO of Grade Learning (formerly Grade Expectations Learning Centres), we’ve been educating since 1993. Our vast experience has taught us how children learn, and allowed us to develop programs and educational materials designed to help children master the Ontario math curriculum. I saw a need for a for a focused and affordable children’s math program – one which not only gives children the confidence to do math with ease but also directly assists in improving their grade level at school. Grade Math was developed in response to that need and has been serving local communities since 2001.

BTB - What made you decide to franchise?

MB - Grade Learning was a franchised company, and I was so satisfied with this experience that franchising Grade Math Programs was a natural choice. Our franchisees have come to us with backgrounds in sales, finance, marketing, administration and management; with these various backgrounds in our team, we strengthen ourselves with the addition each new franchisee.

BTB - Tell us a little about the education Market?

MB - According to recent studies, demand for supplemental education programs will continue to grow over the next decade and beyond. Supplementary education is a multi-million dollar (and growing) market. Over the past three years, consumer spending on tutoring 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.

BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?

MB - One of our challenges has been finding successful franchisees that bring 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; a well of fresh ideas to inject into the system. We’ve been lucky to have found a great assortment of franchisees thus far, and we look forward to finding the next.

BTB - Who has been your greatest 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 are some of the advantages in being a Grade Math Programs franchisee?

MB - As a franchise owner, you will operate Grade Math primarily from home, where most of your administration, marketing and sales will happen. Twice weekly, you will set up your math centre in a local community space for approximately two hours per night. This structure allows you the time and freedom to carry out your other pursuits (whether it be career or family related) while still operating your own franchise. Other important advantages include: a small initial investment, the strong customer demand and a significant earning potential. The Grade Math training program will give you the practical tools you need to successfully work in this industry and will prepare you for your exciting new career. Our training focuses on business, administration, accounting, customer service, hiring, safety, sales, marketing, business planning and goal-setting. You are never alone with Grade Math, from your initial training to ongoing field learning and support.

BTB - What “Gadgets” can’t you live without?

MB - I definitely cannot live without my Blackberry. It keeps me connected to my team and customers across the province.

BTB - What do you do in your spare time?

MB - When I am not working on growing and maintaining Grade Learning and Grade Math Programs, I enjoy hockey, photography and spending time with my family.

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 Math Programs would be a great opportunity for someone?

MB - Grade Math has all the ingredients of a great business decision:

• Small initial investment
• Strong customer demand
• Significant earning potential
• Flexible working hours
• Continued support to ensure your long-term success

Grade Learning has a proven track record in education. Grade Math includes the use of the trademarks, designs, logos and systems originally designed by Grade Learning. Grade Math Programs combines over 17 years of experience with an innovative approach to learning math.