These centers are part of a seven-area international agreement for widespread expansion of Sylvan Learning in the Middle East. In April 2009, Sylvan announced that Mohamed A. Dobashi, Associate Teaching Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and his various partners, purchased rights to open Sylvan Learning centers in two emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- a market size of approximately 120m people.
Dobashi plans to open a center in Abu Dhabi later this year and centers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman next year, pending government approvals. Dobashi opened his first Sylvan Learning center in Qatar in 2007 and, most recently, Dubai and Al-Ieman (Qatar) in March 2009.
"We are providing a very important service to the people of the region. Although Sylvan is relatively new to the Middle East, our ability to deliver high quality, supplemental education programs to the people in the region will build Sylvan's reputation not only here, but around the globe. Quality will allow us to be successful and bridge an education gap this region is experiencing."
This recent agreement with Dobashi highlights Sylvan's efforts to grow the brand in countries outside of the United States and Canada. The company's international efforts are growing as noted by this agreement, and its domestic expansion has also been growing despite the challenging economy in the U.S. Since January 2009, Sylvan has signed 24 new franchise agreements in the U.S., including territories in Baltimore, MD; Evergreen Park, IL; Arlington, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Salt Lake City, UT; Marlton, NJ; Mountain View, CA; Atlanta, GA; Las Vegas, NV; Winter Park, FL; and most recently, Mobile, AL.
"Sylvan is pleased to see the centers beginning to open in the Middle East. Our development in this region is a positive step in expanding awareness of the Sylvan Learning brand internationally," said Curt Hapward, vice president of franchising at Sylvan Learning, Inc. "Under Mohamed's dedication and leadership, we look forward to providing families in the Middle East with our proven supplemental education programs that have been refined over 30 years."
There are additional opportunities in hundreds of communities across the U.S., Canada and internationally for prospective franchisees to purchase a territory and start their own Sylvan Learning center. Sylvan also has identified more than 40 existing corporate-owned centers in Houston, Dallas, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Sacramento, and Orlando that the company is interested in converting to franchised centers. In those markets, interested franchisees have the potential to generate revenue from these existing centers ranging from $200,000 to $1m.
"We continue to be encouraged by the strength of Sylvan Learning's franchise sales both internationally and domestically," said Hapward. "Education is still a priority to families despite the current economic challenges, and with brand awareness twice as strong as any competitor in the industry, our franchisees benefit from Sylvan's success."
Sylvan currently operates nearly 1,100 centers in 49 states in the U.S. and six provinces in Canada and has served more than 2m students since 1979. In 2008, Sylvan Learning was ranked number 57 in Franchise Times magazine's "Top 200 Systems" based on total number of units and has been ranked 24 times in Entrepreneur magazine's "Franchise 500 Ranking," the industry's premier franchise ranking.