$10 million a year for fast-growing biz that teaches kids to use computers.

Deb Evans is the President of Computer Tots/Computer xplorers. While passion for the business is expected, franchisees don't have to be the teachers; they focus on managing and marketing their businesses. The company plans to have no more than 500 or 600 franchises when the company fully matures. Would it surprise you to learn that a network of home-based franchise owners provides cutting-edge technology education to almost 40,000 students ages three and older each week across the United States?

COMPUTERTOTS/COMPUTER EXPLORERS is not only the largest and fastest-growing home-based provider of computer technology education for children in the United States, but it has dispelled the notion of a home-based franchise concept being only a part-time avocation or hobby with limited income potential.

CTCE franchisees not only make a difference in their communities by providing turnkey technology education programs to public and private schools, daycare centers, charter schools, YMCAs and other community sites, but they have the opportunity to earn lucrative incomes from their full-time businesses. It’s a win-win biz.

Franchisees don’t work as instructors, but focus on managing and marketing their businesses. No teaching required.

“Home-based businesses are booming because people don’t want to be burdened with all the fixed costs and high investment that comes with real estate. CTCE’s initial investment is very affordable and our franchisees have the added benefit of home-office tax deductions,” said Art Coley, CEO of the Home-Based Group of the International Center for Entrepreneurial Development (ICED), the Houston-based parent company of CTCE. “CTCE is a home-based business with significant opportunities. Most of our franchisees will tell you they have not even scratched the surface with the opportunities available in their markets.”

CTCE’s turnkey Integrated Technology Resource Program (ITRP) provides certified instructors and an education-designed curriculum, using education-based software that can be integrated with students’ core studies. More than 600 teachers provide CTCE instruction at almost 2,000 locations in the United States.

Computertots educates preschool children ages 3-5 in small collaborative classes of three children, while Computer Explorers offers the all-inclusive ITRP package for students in kindergarten through eighth grade in both private and public schools. CTCE is the only company in the technology education industry to offer an all-inclusive program like ITRP, which is unique in integrating technology education with students’ studies in core subjects. School benefit, too.

“We basically take over the school’s computer lab,” Coley said of the ITRP program. “Schools don’t have to hire teachers, devise curriculums or manage the entire process. CTCE takes care of everything.”

ICED acquired Computer Tots/Com-puter Explorers in September 2003 from Karen Marshall, who founded the company with Mary Rogers in 1984. Rogers and Marshall—recognized authorities in children’s education for more than 30 years—founded the company on the belief that computers would play an indispensable role in the education of children. Great prediction

When ICED made the acquisition it was so strongly convinced of the future of the home-based franchise sector that it formed a new division, the Home-Based Group, with the goal of becoming the world’s leading franchisor of home-based businesses.

ICED operates eight other non-home-based franchise concepts in a variety of industries with more than 800 locations around the world. It brought a wealth of support services and resources to CTCE, which has seen a corresponding surge in growth. The number of franchisees has almost doubled from 58 to 105 since 2003, getting closer to achieving CTCE’s goal of having 400 franchisees by 2010. CTCE has franchisees in 27 states along with international operations in Canada, Australia, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It began franchising in 1989.

“It is not only the business people that make this company work,” Coley said. “Most of the CTCE team is made up of pure educators. They’re working on curriculums and our programs. ICED brought enhanced business functions, but we know that if our technology education programs aren’t successful, none of that other support matters.”

In 2005 the Madison County (Miss.) School District became the first public school system in the country to offer ITRP when it chose CTCE to take over technology education responsibilities at one of its intermediate schools. The program was initially reserved for only fifth-graders but was so well received it was expanded to include third- and fourth-graders.

The Madison County ITRP curriculum is integrated with students’ math and science studies. According to CTCE President Deb Evans, district administrators are considering expanding the program to seven other intermediate schools in the county.

“The principal is ecstatic over what is taking place,” Evans said. “His goal was to have the Madison Avenue Upper Elementary School be recognized throughout the county for its science, technology and math instruction. Previously they only had teaching assistants in the lab and a few software programs,” said Evans.

Demand is only expected to increase because of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002. The most sweeping reform of federal education policy in a generation, NCLB expanded the federal role in education and set requirements in place that affect every public school in America. NCLB and other federal programs provide funding for educational technology and professional development to improve academic performance.

According to the Education Industry Association, education is rapidly becoming a $1 trillion industry, representing 10 percent of America’s GNP and is second in size only to the health care industry. Federal and state expenditures on education exceed $750 billion. Education companies, with more than $80 billion in annual revenues, already constitute a large sector in the education arena.

“It’s like everybody is thirsty now and we have water,” Coley said of the growth potential afforded CTCE by the No Child Left Behind Act. “Funding is mandating technology education. We are providing a turnkey solution to schools at incredibly affordable prices.”

With an affordable initial investment of $56,925 - $65,250, CTCE offers an attractive investment opportunity for a wide variety of prospective franchisees. Their numbers increasingly include men, who Evans said are now represented in every training class of new franchisees, a marked departure from previous years.

Prospective franchisees run the gamut from those who have been downsized or seek new careers outside of corporate life to retirees and those looking for freedom from the 9-to-5 grind. CTCE’s flexibility offers important quality-of-life considerations.

“Our franchisees are looking to be more involved with their families and their community,” Coley said. “The school-type hours are appealing to them. During Christmas and other holidays, our franchisees are enjoying time with their friends and family,” said the executive.

Because they work primarily with school administrators, CTCE franchisees also have the advantage of working in a business-to-business environment. And since programs are contracted for specific durations of time, franchisees have the assurance of consistent revenues from those contracts. Biz is booming.

Coley said that in 2005 close to 3,000 people contacted CTCE about franchise opportunities and he expects that figure to reach almost 5,000 in 2006. CTCE expects to have only 500 to 600 franchisees throughout the country when it fully matures, the company said.

Franchise candidates don’t need backgrounds in education or technology. People management skills prove useful and franchisees are expected to be active members of their communities. While owners are expected to be passionate about providing quality technology education programs to children, they also must have a desire to build a large-scale, thriving business, said the franchisor.

“Our franchisees want to achieve high incomes but they want to get there through a business that not only makes a difference but provides flexibility and a strong quality-of-life component,” Coley said. “When you’re talking about technology and children, there aren’t many bigger opportunities to make a difference.”

Taken from Web