Education-focused communities in Colorado attract Sylvan entrepreneurs wanting to deliver a positive impact for local children.
Colorado is a prime market for potential Sylvan Learning centers, boasting all the elements necessary to ensure success for the tutoring concept. It’s also, however, one of the most untapped markets. In Colorado, there are close to one million school-aged children between the age of five to 17. That’s a lot of brains to mold. While there are Sylvan centers open in Denver and Colorado Springs, there’s still plenty of room for growth in those markets as well as in other major cities.
“The number of students, high annual household income and percent of adults with college degrees [24 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent have a graduate degree] are indicators that correlate with a highly successful market for Sylvan Learning,” says Sylvan market research analyst Alice Kreiner.
Sylvan Learning franchisee Ann Smith has been successfully operating her tutoring center in Denver for a decade, focusing on individualizing the learning experience for every student who walks through her center’s door or logs in via her satellite location in Parker.
Smith fell into business with Sylvan almost by chance, meeting the right person at the right time when she was looking to transition from a part-time role to a full-time opportunity. An assistant youth director at the time, Smith met the former owner of the Sylvan Denver location at her church, who hired her to be the center director before selling her the business just eight months later.
“I’m not sure I would have ever thought to go to Sylvan, given that I knew very little about it at the time,” says Smith. “I have a marketing degree, and when I realized what a great combination Sylvan was—blending my experience with marketing and my passion for kids—I knew I had found the perfect opportunity. As service providers, we love what we do. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t. And Sylvan works.”
Her favorite aspect of the Sylvan business is the connection it provides her with Denver’s education community. Through Sylvan, Smith has partnered with teachers to ensure the success of students, collaborating to create viable approaches for tutoring and help students to not just grasp the material, but to actually master it. Smith says the surest route to success is through community involvement because those in her area, and throughout Colorado, place a strong emphasis on education.
“The Sylvan name brings them in the door, but the person sitting behind the desk is who sells the center,” says Smith. “That person needs to be known in the community and has to have integrity, passion and spirit. This place is all about trust.”
Sylvan Learning director of franchise development Georgia Chasen agrees, adding, “The fact that it’s a community-driven state with a focus on education allows Sylvan owners to support educational goals of neighborhoods. Because our programs are also available via satellite centers [which are convenient settings like schools and community centers where Sylvan can offer programs via its digital teaching platform], it also works in areas with more spread out communities and gives us access to a wider range of students.”
Now, Sylvan Learning has its eyes on the markets in Boulder and Colorado, which also boast thousands of students, high family incomes and a strong focus on education. To own a Sylvan Learning, there’s a franchise fee of $24,000 with start-up costs ranging from $70,980 to $159,890.
“We’re looking for prospective Sylvan franchisees who are entrepreneurial and ready to find a career that means something,” says Chasen. “Our franchise partners aren’t just looking for a job. It’s a way of life. At the end of the day, Sylvan franchisees can feel good about what they’re doing, because they make an impact in the community of the future.”