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Why Cultural Alignment is Essential for Multi-Unit Lightbridge Academy Franchisees

By focusing on shared core values, creating a strong brand reputation, and a great customer experience, Lightbridge Academy creates a culture that helps franchisees scale their early education and child care business.

Since its founding in 1997, Lightbridge Academy®, the thriving early education and child care center with a footprint of over 140 centers open, under construction or in development, has understood that a strong corporate culture is essential for any business, but especially for franchises. 

“When a franchisee and franchisor share a similar culture and core values, both parties benefit,” said Gigi Schweikert, CEO. “The franchisee is more likely to be successful, the franchisor is more likely to see increased profits, and the brand is more likely to have a positive image and reputation. Culture is key to a successful franchising relationship.”

With this culture in place, franchisees have the opportunity to scale their business and develop multi-unit portfolios. And no one exemplifies this better than Raj and Veenu Parkash. The two have been with the brand for 15 years and are the proud owners of four Lightbridge Academy centers in New Jersey. 

The couple, who just purchased an existing location in the same region as their others, says the Lightbridge Academy culture has provided them with the right environment to grow as individuals, which allows them to grow their business.

“We owe everything to the employees we have today,” said Veenu. “It took a lot to train and coach them, but the most important thing we’ve done is treat each one like family. We don’t restrict them. We give them all the support they need. That is why we have so many employees who have been with us for over 15 years. Our regional manager Jessica, for example, was already with Lightbridge Academy as a part-time assistant when I first hired her and took her on as an assistant teacher. From there, she became the lead teacher, office administrator, assistant director and is now the regional director for all four centers. We have so many people who start as part-time employees at young ages and become leaders. They are really our biggest strength when it comes to scaling the business.” 

Raj notes that this cultural alignment also extends to the corporate team. From day one, Lightbridge Academy has provided them with the support, training and infrastructure needed to achieve operational excellence across multiple locations. 

For example, franchisees work closely with the development team to find the best real estate solution before ever opening their doors. Franchisees also spend time learning all areas of the business, completing training and beginning community outreach. When it comes time to open, Raj notes that the marketing department is there to help guide franchisees on the best practices to generate enrollment and continue to offer in-depth marketing support afterward. 

To ensure that franchisees like the Parkashs have the support needed to provide the best child care and educational experience for everyone in the Lightbridge Academy Circle of Care®, the brand takes training seriously from day one. 

“The training department really helped us understand all aspects of the business and the educational side of the business, for every specific age group,” said Raj. “The education and curriculum are very important — what we offer dictates what these children will be when they grow up. Enrichment programs such as American Sign Language, music, and yoga can only be offered because of the support and lesson plans from Lightbridge are there. As a business owner, you must be open to learning new information. You can only run a successful business when you have to continuously learn.” 

With such strong cultural alignment and defined core values, franchisees like the Parkashs can build an unparalleled brand reputation in their local community, creating the opportunity for multi-unit development down the road. 

We have a strong reputation in the area, which fosters our growth, and we’ve achieved that reputation because we were trained on what was needed to succeed as a child care center,” said Raj.

Overall, for prospective franchisees who want to join the Lightbridge Academy family, Raj says there are three important factors that lead to success: hard work, dedication and trust. “Enjoy what you are doing,” he said. “The one thing about owning a Lightbridge Academy is that you get to spend time with children, and children make you happy. You can see their growth — they come to you as children and eventually grow to be summer camp counselors. That kind of culture brings happiness. The secret is to work hard — be true to what you do, and you will do well.”

Veenu notes that creating the right culture and environment needs to be intentional and a priority. If franchisees go into the business with that mindset, everything else will fall into place.  

“Like any franchise or business, everyone wants to make money from day one, but you need to change that mindset and set a goal beyond money,” said Veenu. “It should be about customer service, cultivating relationships and building a reputation. Focus on your roots. If those are strong, you can face anything. One of the biggest reasons we have become successful is our focus on customer service. There have been economic ups and downs through the years, but our reputation and company culture have allowed us to survive and thrive. The money will definitely come if you focus first on the culture you are building. Everything else will follow.”

For more information on multi-unit franchising opportunities with Lightbridge Academy, visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.