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Why Multi-Unit Operators Should Look to Early Childhood Education Franchise Lightbridge Academy®

Franchisee Manan Shah explains why his family added Lightbridge Academy to their multi-brand portfolio, including Dunkin’, Jersey Mike's, Baskin-Robbins, Shell, Hilton and Circle K.

By Katie Porter1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 11/08/22

With the global market for early childhood education growing at a compound annual rate of more than 10%Lightbridge Academy, a 65-plus-unit early education and child care franchise, is positioned to see a significant increase in demand. And with pandemic restrictions easing and more parents returning to work in an office setting, the need for quality, trusted child care is expected to continue to rise. 

The Facts and Factors market research group estimates the industry will reach $245 billion by 2026. This tailwind makes investing in Lightbridge Academy an attractive prospect for established operators looking to add to their portfolio. 

Manan Shah is one of those operators who comes from a multi-brand franchising family that values scaling businesses by “working smarter, not harder.” He is co-owner of the new Lightbridge Academy location at 191 LeFante Way in Bayonne, New Jersey, along with his father, Vijay, and brother, Neel

The Shahs have been franchise owners since the late ‘80s. They now own almost 30 different businesses and employ nearly 300 team members at their various companies, including Dunkin’, Jersey Mike's, Baskin-Robbins, Shell, Hilton and Circle K. They operate in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

“We've really solidified and strengthened our knowledge and implementation of the franchise model. We're firm believers and think it's a great model, especially for anyone who wants to scale quickly,” said Manan. “It's a great way to grow your business portfolio, and once you understand how the model works, it becomes a well-oiled machine.” 

In addition to being multi-brand owners, the Shahs are looking to become multi-unit owners with Lightbridge Academy and are already searching for a second location. The early child care industry's growth and the support and scalable model Lightbridge offers have made it easy for them to make plans to grow. 

Manan points to the need for child care growing, even in his own family, which immigrated from India forty years ago. The women in the older generations used to mainly stay home with their children, but now many of his female relatives are striving for careers and need a trusted source of child care for the dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews. This inspired him to explore Lightbridge Academy as a new business venture to fill that gap as The Solution for Working Parents®. 

“There will always be a need for this type of service, and so Lightbridge is eager to grow — and that was important to us when investing. But we also liked that they value quality over quantity when it comes to franchisees,” said Manan. “I firmly believe that having more units owned by fewer franchisees is better. A smaller group of individuals you know are good operators is the number one telltale of a good franchise, and that's something occurring within Lightbridge Academy.”

Manan also noted that the corporate team has been extremely supportive, and all the executives have made sure to be accessible and available to him throughout the process of signing, construction and readying to open the center’s doors. He calls the relationship between franchisees and the brand a “very strong family bond.”

“Lightbridge has done a phenomenal job to set us up for success. They help you every step of the way, from licensing to building to opening, and really coach you through the entire process. They have vetted vendors with great pricing, and prices go down as you scale,” said Manan. “They are letting franchisees who've proven themselves to run with the model and grow. So we'll keep building and see how far it takes us.”

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