Lightbridge Academy, an early education and child care brand focused on providing a nurturing care and a high quality learning program for infants through pre-K, has already seen great success in the Mid-Atlantic, where the franchise brand is based. Now the company has plans to expand to South Florida, specifically to the cities of Miami and West Palm Beach.
Lightbridge Academy Senior Vice President of Franchise Development Mark Mele cited the region’s growing population as a major reason for wanting to expand there.
“Florida is proving to be an excellent opportunity for our brand, with rising populations and a large number of young families,” Mele said. “Working parents need support and the demand for high quality early education programs has never been greater. Miami and West Palm Beach, in particular, have diverse populations with large numbers of growing families that need the services we provide.”
The brand’s goal is to open six new centers throughout the two cities, a move that would add approximately 200 jobs to the area.
Miami-Dade County’s population as of July of 2017 is approximately 2.7 million, with 5.8 percent of the population being under the age of five, and 20.3 percent of the population under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The city of West Palm Beach also possesses a large population of young people, with 18.5 percent being under the age of 18, and 5.4 percent being under the age of five as of July of 2017, also according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The demographics for these two cities meet the Lightbridge Academy profile and are prime opportunities for expansion.
Lightbridge Academy is also exploring growth in the northern and central parts of the state, specifically in Jacksonville and Orlando, due to similar demographics and a rapidly-growing population.
“Our ideal franchise candidate is someone with integrity who is committed to following the Lightbridge Academy system,” Mele said. “We take our core values and ‘Circle of Care’ philosophy seriously, and our franchisees must desire to exceed customer expectations and go above and beyond what is expected in the child care industry. Our system is proven to work anywhere, and we want franchisees who are passionate about meeting the needs of working parents and providing a high quality educational program.”
The brand has come a long way since it first started 20 years ago. The franchise system prides itself on providing a stimulating early learning environment that encourages learning that is developmentally appropriate. Lightbridge Academy’s proprietary curriculum meets the individual needs of the whole child. Annual assessments have consistently shown that 93 percent of Lightbridge Academy pre-K students have met the milestones necessary to achieve success in kindergarten-level subjects such as writing, math, social studies and science.
And safety and security is taken to the next level. Every Lightbridge Academy center has a coded entry system, internal video monitoring, silent alarms and lock down safety equipment. While parents appreciate the peace of mind that the ParentView® Internet Monitoring system provides enabling them to connect to their child’s classroom throughout the day.
“Safety is a major concern resonating with most parents,” Mele said. “Wherever a Lightbridge Academy center is located, parents are always delighted by the range of security measures we have put in place. A child’s safety is always our number one priority, and that is why we have made a sizable investment in this area.”
Lightbridge Academy was founded as a family business and has intentionally created a warm family-like, home-away-from-home atmosphere. Franchisees and corporate team members have a high level of support and consultation to help ensure the success of every center.
“We offer a variety of incentive programs to our franchisees,” Mele said. “Our referral program and graduated royalty fee program are among the best in the business. We also support franchisees in identifying funding options and offer a lease assurance program. It’s very important to us that franchisees have what they need to succeed. Our success depends on theirs and in new markets such as South Florida, extensive advance research and planning is conducted on every market using a series of detailed assessment tools to ensure it matches our profile.
The brand is excited at the prospect of collaborating with future South Florida franchisees and providing the solid support for which it is already known.
“We’re thrilled with the success we’ve experienced in the Mid-Atlantic,” Mele said. “Now, we’re confident that Miami and West Palm Beach are solid markets and perfect next steps for expansion.”
The startup costs for a Lightbridge Academy franchise range from $541,228 to $733,635. The franchise fee is $40,000. The brand currently has 36 centers open with 70 more in development. For more information on owning a Lightbridge Academy franchise, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.