Corina Brasoveanu, general manager of FasTracKids Bucuresti 3 – Barbu Vacarescu, has mined her extensive professional experience to build a business positioned on a very specific market niche: leadership courses for kids.
Corina Brasoveanu decided to set up her own business, FasTracKids Bucuresti 3, in 2008. Her professional background played a crucial role in starting her on her entrepreneurial path, as she had worked for many multinational and major local companies in Romania. Her first job was assistant manager at ABB Romania, back in 1997. But while she believes that it was and still is a strong multinational company, Brasoveanu decided two years later to move on, taking up a position at the Austrian retailer Billa as cash manager.
“It was the first large food retailer on the Romanian market at that time. I soon became junior controller and within three years of being hired I was promoted to senior controller,” remembers the entrepreneur. But her professional journey didn’t stop here. Her next job was at Mobilux, the furniture manufacturer. After two years as group controller, Brasoveanu was appointed financial manager at the Bucharest manufacturing unit. “It was also a good education because I learned a lot of things that helped me later. The company put me in charge of making a plan that generated about EUR 1 million of annual savings,” says the businesswoman.
The idea to set up her own business came by chance after her young daughter had the opportunity to participate in a FasTracKids demonstrative lesson. “She was very excited about it and talked for two hours about her experience – she had never talked so much and so enthusiastically about the ordinary kindergarten she was going to. My husband was on an MBA program and one of his colleagues was an entrepreneur who had a franchise brokerage services company. Because we knew and trusted him we acquired the FasTracKids franchise,” says Brasoveanu. “I decided to set up this business because I had a small child and I wanted to develop something I could fall back on, on the long term.” According to Brasoveanu, her center was the most dynamic one in Bucharest in terms of the number of registered children in the fifth month from its official launch on the market. She also says that the support from the Area Developer in Romania played a key role in the future success of her business.
The franchise is composed of a series of educational programs devised to develop the personal side of kids aged from six months to eight years old. At present FasTracKids Bucuresti 3 – Barbu Vacarescu offers the Core program for three- to eight-year-olds, Signing for babies aged six to twenty-four months and Explorers in English for two- to four-year-olds. The Core program prepares children for their future lives, extending their general knowledge and developing their essential skills through public speaking and teamwork on different projects. It is available in Romanian, English and soon German. “We will launch the German version of this program with native speaker teachers this autumn. It is designed for children taking the entrance examination for Goethe German High school,” says Brasoveanu.
The Signing program teaches babies to communicate with their relatives who also attend the course. Last but not least, Explorers covers socializing, general knowledge, music and dance, and was especially created for young children.
Asked about the most difficult moment her business has faced, she says it relates to the seasonality of her enterprise. “That’s why it is a real challenge to get through the summer,” says the general manager. But she has a strong and detailed strategy for her company in order to survive the quiet periods. Brasoveanu has created programs that in addition to FasTracKids courses are meant to contribute to children’s development. “For this summer we have come up with a program that includes swimming twice a week, tennis once a week and different trips, so that children can have a varied program for the whole day” says the entrepreneur.
Another challenge in this field comes from her customers, who are very sensitive to the quality of the services they are getting. “We need to communicate with parents all the time. They receive reports about the developments of their kids and films of the training sessions in order to make them fully aware of their children’s development,” says the businesswoman.
Although Brasoveanu chose a specific niche on the educational market, there is plenty of space to develop, as she believes that there is no direct competition for FasTracKids courses. “The competition is indirect and takes the form of other activities for small children. We compete over the time of kids’ parents rather than with other players,” says the entrepreneur.
As for future plans, she reveals that her company will launch FasTracKids Music for two- to four-year-olds this fall, a program designed to create a musical culture and to help the children practise their English. “We are also thinking of acquiring FasTracKids English, which we hope to launch in October,” she concludes.