Amir Asor is a proven young entrepreneur with an understanding of the future. For more than 10 years his company, e2 Young Engineers, have developed a skill-based platform for children – using fun, engaging and hands-on methods lacking in traditional schools. Mr Asor has not just found a gap in the market, but is leading the drive for the new-world style of education – winning the 2011 Youth Business International Entrepreneur of The Year Award for the impact Young Engineers has made on their students and their communities around the world.
What inspired the business concept for Young Engineers?
I didn’t have the most positive experience at school. Only when I started university did I discover that I’m actually not such a bad student. … When you grow up, you see the way the world is changing. You see how the business sector evolves. On top of that you have your own personal experiences. I had done some work with kids and understood that technology is changing very fast and education is changing very slow. Nobody gets a smart and advanced experience just from school. You get experience from other places.
If you think back 20 years and tried to predict what occupations would exist today, you probably wouldn’t have a clue. And even today, if you tried to think about what the jobs will be in the next 20 years, we probably still don’t have a clue. When you reach that stage of understanding, you realise we need to approach education in a broader way.
Both my parents are educators. I think I got some inspiration from them. But for me personally, it’s about developing skills - not just information. I realised education shouldn’t just be information orientated, but more skill-based. This is the only way for the kids to be prepared for the 21st century workforce. If you know how to think, you can do many things. If you only know information, you can only do things with that information – that’s your limit.
How has Young Engineers grown and developed since 2008?
Our business has obviously been growing the number of franchisees. Then with the growing success of our franchisees they're generally take more teaching packages, and are taking more and more franchise locations. They’re expanding – and their territories are growing as well. Successful businesses of our greatest growth engine (Young Engineers) currently have 200 business owners.
You know, usually when you ask different franchisors, they say, ‘We have 1000/2000 franchisees,’ but it’s not really the case. They often count the number of franchise units. But for us we have over 200 businesses – 200 people who actually own their own businesses in over 50 countries. This is the current position we are at.
Do you think you are well positioned for the future and the 'great reset?'
No one really understands exactly what the great reset means. I’ve spent hours wondering about what it means exactly and what’s going to happen... If I had to bet, I think it’s something to do with sharing, A.I. and blockchain tech.
I think we are well covered for this kind of future. This takes us back to the educational requirements of when you don’t know what’s ahead, you have to develop skills. You have to know how to think – how to approach a question - how to approach a challenge. You have to develop skills of how to approach a problem.
We are also developing all the time - our team is working hard. We have recently launched the Algo Play and Algo Buddy programs, which enable children to experience the world of coding and robotics without screens. Basically, we embodied common coding elements into a tangible brick. So instead of writing a code sequence, you just organise a sequence of bricks that says something in coding. This basically embodies all the basic elements of coding, such as the conditions and multi-threading. All of the scary things that people tend to be afraid of at university - tailored just for kids so it becomes natural for them.
For kids it’s visual. We never tell children, ‘Hey let’s do something complicated.’ We just say, ‘Hey, kids, let’s do something fun and let’s code this machine to do something we like. Let’s code this robot to go from one place to another.’ Or, ‘Let’s program the cheerleaders to cheer when the ball goes through the hoop.’
Can anyone open a Y.E franchise?
Absolutely anyone can see the importance of preparing kids for the 21st century labour force. Anyone can see this is a good opportunity and an important mission. They can of course see the fun side of it also.
For an example, a typical franchise is divided into two segments:
Some of those who have experience with kids. They know how to approach them and how to explain simple subjects. Later the kids are going to build it from the building blocks and understand it either way – so it’s just like making the preamble for them. The educational side is not so hard, so I think everyone can do it with basic skills.
The other type is people who feel very close to the mission, but don’t have the ability. Or, simply doesn’t have the interest in running the classes themselves. In this case, they can hire instructors. It’s easy to find instructors.
So, basically anyone who sees the beautiful side of our mission are qualified to be our business owners of Young Engineers.
What are the franchise costs like for an investor based in Europe?
It’s not expensive. For $5,000 liquid capital, you will basically have everything you need to open a business point with a good chance of being successful.
e2 Young Engineers Business Card
- Initial franchise fee: $0
- Ongoing franchise fee: Minimum fixed of $300 per month, or 7% gross revenue
- Total set up cost: $5,000 on average
- Average sales per unit: Varies
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