Kokstad’s local hub, Kumon, has a new owner


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In line with our Global Mission statement, Kumon is determined to reach as many children as possible through the Kumon method, which meant that when one of our long standing instructors decided it was time to hand over the Kumon mantle in Kokstad we made sure to do everything possible to ensure the continuity of Kumon in this small town.

The Centre had been in operation for since 2001 and had steadily grown over those years under the leadership of Kumon Franchisee Aimee van Rensburg.  When Aimee decided it was time to sell the Centre it was a sad moment for Kumon Education South Africa.  Aimee had run an exceptional centre over the years, was a part of our Instructor Advisory Committee, and was well loved and respected across the country.  The centre has often had over 100 students enrolled, and this in a town where the 0-18 group statistically is usually under 3000.

The area is well known for being the local hub for various farming communities, and many students travel in and stay in town during the week and return home to their farms on a weekend.  The fact that a great Kumon centre was not only able to survive there, but also do incredibly well was a testament not only to the fantastic Kumon programme, but also the inspirational leadership that Aimee provided.

Nevertheless, as does happen, the time came for Aimee to give up the Centre, and we began recruiting immediately for someone to fill her shoes.  As luck would have it, a mother of two children who attended the Centre had seen in the newsletter that Aimee had decided to sell. She gave it a bit of thought, but being employed full time, didn’t dwell on the possibility much.  Her husband came home from work that evening with the news that someone in his office had also seen that the Kumon Centre was for sale, and that they thought, and he agreed, that she should go for it.

Corina Brand, contacted Kumon Franchise recruitment and began an application process which would not only change her life, but the lives of so many children in her home town.

Corina grew up in Utrecht, and after her studies settled in Kokstad. She is married with two children whom she cherishes, and who are, of course, Kumon students.  Corina’s passions for Kumon actually started due to the improvements she saw in her own children’s Math ability as well as the perseverance and focus the Kumon programme brought into their lives.

Corina attended the franchisee interview with some trepidation.  Her current role as an administrator in one of the private schools in Kokstad was a highly sought after position, and something she really loved doing.  The idea of going into Kumon full time, something she really only knew about as a Kumon parent was daunting.  After a few discussions around finances and what she would actually need to do as a Kumon franchisee, Corina became excited about embarking on this adventure.

Corina was invited to attend initial training beginning in June 2013.  This training is held at our Johannesburg office, and requires quite a financial commitment from our franchisees that live in other provinces, but Corina had decided (as had we) that this was the right thing for her and she made her travel plans.  Coming to Johannesburg three times over a three month period and overnighting for three days was not without its difficulties.  As a mother she did find it difficult to leave her children at home, but knew that ultimately making this decision now would only be to their benefit later on.

Corina flew through the initial training.  All of our potential franchisees need to complete worksheets even before attending training, and by the end of the training set they have all completed all worksheets up to level E which finishes with Fractions and Decimals.  Corina had the neatest and most organised worksheets I have ever seen.  Every page was carefully completed and marked, she did all of her corrections and had made extensive notes on almost every page.

In between trainings, while still working full time, and being a mom, Corina was working in the Kokstad Centre, getting to know students, parents and the Centre operations.  Corina threw herself wholeheartedly into the process and it was clear to us that if anyone could take over the Kumon mantle from Aimee, it would be Corina.

While finishing the training, she also identified a great venue for the centre to move to.  The centre address could not be more perfect: 123 Main Road, Kokstad.  Once training was complete, Corina finalised her lease with the landlord, and signed her Franchise agreement with Kumon on the 8th of August 2013.

With the official Centre take-over date being scheduled as 1 October, Corina was able to hand in her notice and prepare for the grand opening of the new Kokstad Kumon.  Centre branding is currently underway, and Corina has already begun an extensive marketing campaign in the town to bring even more children into the centre.  Her centre will be, as per our Franchise Agreement, open four afternoons a week, and Corina will devote the rest of her time to the business, administration, marketing, advertising, meeting with parents, and of course, planning the Kumon studies of all the children in her centre.

Corina recently had this to say about her Kumon experience at this point:

“The whole Kumon experience is really becoming a reality for me!  The countdown has begun and from today there are officially only 20 days left ’till my centre opens.  All the books that I have ordered from the Recommended Reading List are arriving and it is wonderful to open each box and smell the wonderful aroma of brand new books.  My children have both been devouring the books at home and our family have all spent time labelling the books by level and covering them with contact!!  What a humbling experience to know that my family (and of course all of you) have stood behind me and even find the little things, like labelling and covering books, important.”

“I am looking forward to a weekend of gardening along the side of the centre and to fill the flower boxes with something ‘happy’ and ‘springy’.  The contractors have finished painting the inside of the building and will start with carpeting tomorrow.  I will then move everything from the current centre and add all the new equipment next Saturday – phew!!!! It really has crept up on me.

Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful journey!!”

All of us here at Kumon Education South Africa would like to wish Corina Brand the very best for her Kumon Centre.  We are certain it will be a roaring success.

 
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