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There are plenty of business models and concepts that address child-centric services, including franchises that focus on school tutoring, sports camps, fitness, music, art, and education.
If you want to research the best-rated franchises that made the cut in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 this year, here’s who earned a spot in the top 15:
1. Kumon Math & Reading Centers
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 6th
Initial Investment: $ 64K to $ 140K
Units as of 2021: 26,365 (+ 1.9% in the last 3 years)
High school math teacher Toru Kumon developed the Kumon Method of learning more than 60 years ago in Japan when his son was struggling with second-grade arithmetic. Realizing that a strong foundation in the basics – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – were essential for higher-level math, Kumon created a series of math worksheets for his son to work on after school. With daily practice, Kumon’s son gradually expanded his mastery of mathematical skills and by sixth grade was able to solve differential equations and integral calculus problems. Today, at locations throughout North America, Kumon franchisees apply this method of daily practice and self-paced advancement to children’s math and reading skills.
Related: Children’s Education Franchises Are Going Hi-Tech
2. Urban Air Adventure Park
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 46th
Initial Investment: $ 2.8M to $ 5.9M
Units as of 2021: 153 (+ 200.0% in the last 3 years)
Urban Air Adventure Park customers rely on the company for special events and opportunities to make lasting memories with their families, kids and friends in an active environment. The brand’s technology and pursuit of new ways to help franchisees connect with their local market and run their parks more efficiently sets the stage for further award-winning opportunities for the franchise.
3. Goldfish Swim School
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 53rd
Initial Investment: $ 1.4M to $ 3.3M
Units as of 2021: 120 (+ 71.4% in the last 3 years)
Family-owned since its inception, Goldfish Swim School is a family-friendly environment that teaches kids lifesaving and life-changing skills. Goldfish Swim School wants franchisees who care about kids, the water, owning a business and the chance to make a difference in the lives of children.
4. Primrose Schools
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 65th
Initial Investment: $ 652K to $ 7.8M
Units as of 2021: 454 (+ 18.8% in the last 3 years)
Primrose Schools offer year-round programs for children from six weeks to six years old, including after-school enrichment and summer programs. Each school is a licensed educational childcare facility. Primrose School Franchising provides continuing education for all teachers, as well as corporate quality assurance programs.
5. The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 68th
Initial Investment: $ 544K to $ 3.6M
Units as of 2021: 283 (+ 33.5% in the last 3 years)
The Weissman family, founders of The Learning Experience, have been providing education-based childcare services for over 30 years. Following a letter retirement, the Weissmans decided to re-enter the childcare industry in 2000, building on their experience to create The Learning Experience. The company began franchising in 2003 and has extended its curriculum to include extensive enrichment programming.
Related: Spotlight on … Franchises That Cater to Kids
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 95th
Initial Investment: $ 113K to $ 149K
Units as of 2021: 1,082 (+ 15.5% in the last 3 years)
As a consultant to public and private schools, Larry Martinek saw first-hand the struggles that many students had with mathematics instruction. He spent three decades developing methods and materials to help give grade-school children a better foundation in math. His curriculum became the basis of the first Mathnasium Learning Centeropened by Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff in Westwood, California, in 2002. The company began expanding a year later and now has locations across North and South America, Europe and Asia.
7. The Goddard School
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 96th
Initial Investment: $ 698K to $ 874K
Units as of 2021: 575 (+ 19.3% in the last 3 years)
The Goddard School offers year-round programs for children from six weeks to six years old, including after-school enrichment and summer programs. Headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Goddard Systems Inc. (GSI) currently has franchises throughout the United States. Each school is a licensed childcare facility with an on-site owner, an education director and faculty trained in early childhood education or childhood development. GSI provides continuing education for all teachers as well as a corporate quality assurance program.
8. Kiddie Academy
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 118th
Initial Investment: $ 402K to $ 6M
Units as of 2021: 280 (+ 35.9% in the last 3 years)
George and Pauline Miller founded Kiddie Academy Child Care Learning Centers in 1981 to provide education-based childcare. Kiddie Academy provides its franchisees with a curriculum and helps them obtain all the licenses and permits necessary to build and operate the business.
Related: Franchise Players: Why We Chose a Childcare Franchise
9. Huntington Learning Center
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 122nd
Initial Investment: $ 147K to $ 266K
Units as of 2021: 285 (-1.4% in the last 3 years)
Huntington Learning Centers was started by Dr. Raymond J. Huntington and his wife, Eileen, in 1977. The company began franchising in 1985. Huntington Learning Centers offer instruction in reading, mathematics and study skills, as well as phonics, spelling, vocabulary, writing, algebra, geometry and SAT / ACT exam preparation.
10. Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 124th
Initial Investment: $ 4.4M to $ 5.7M
Units as of 2021: 182 (+ 8.3% in the last 3 years)
Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies strives for every child in its care to feel safe, loved and inspired. The brand is committed to providing a solid educational foundation, well-trained teachers and a secure environment where children can flourish intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. By fostering strong connections between families, its schools and communities, Kids ‘R’ Kids pledges to challenge and prepare all children for a positive impact in every step of their lives.
11. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 136th
Initial Investment: $ 502K to $ 1.2M
Units as of 2021: 120 (+ 31.9% in the last 3 years)
Since 1991, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools has been committed to saving lives, one swim lesson at a time. Aqua ‐ Tots Swim Schools has operated under a concrete system of corporate core values that are an integral part of an Aqua-Tots working environment and shape the way its schools do business each day.
Related: Which Franchise Keeps Kids (and Parents!) Sane?
12. Skyhawks Sports & Supertots Sports Academy
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 156th
Initial Investment: $ 30K to $ 72K
Units as of 2021: 213 (+ 51.1% in the last 3 years)
Skyhawks Sports is the leader in providing a safe, fun, and skill-based sports experience programs for children for kids between the ages of 4 and 12. The Skyhawks brand provides national exposure and appeal while providing franchisees with a dependable and rewarding business. Through the Skyhawks system, franchisees teach children and young adults meaningful life lessons through sports.
Related: Sports Franchise Is Making Youth Sports Fun Again
13. Once Upon a Child
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 177th
Initial Investment: $ 260K to $ 402K
Units as of 2021: 397 (+ 7.6% in the last 3 years)
Founded in 1984 in Columbus, Ohio, Once Upon A Child specializes in selling new and used children’s clothes, toys, furniture and equipment. Franchises were first offered in 1992. The company is owned by Winmark (formerly Grow Biz), which also franchises Music Go Round, Plato’s Closet, Style Encore and Play It Again Sports.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 182nd
Initial Investment: $ 500K to $ 972K
Units as of 2021: 112 (+ 89.8% in the last 3 years)
D-BAT was founded in 1998 by Cade and Kyle Griffis. The brand’s simple goal was to provide an indoor facility that matched the level of quality players in the area. D-BAT offers franchise training facilities plus a full line of products including wood bats, gloves, batting gloves and baseball and softball accessories.
15. School of Rock
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 184th
Initial Investment: $ 323K to $ 521K
Units as of 2021: 293 (+ 36.9% in the last 3 years)
Paul Green began offering music lessons out of his home in 1998, and in 2000 he opened the Paul Green School of Rock Music in Philadelphia. He began franchising the schools in 2005 before being bought out by investor Sterling Partners, who changed the name to School of Rock. School of Rock music schools teach guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards and drums, combining weekly private music lessons and group band rehearsals to prepare students for live performances. Day camps are also offered during summer, winter and spring breaks.
Related: Children’s Education Franchises Are Going Hi-Tech