From Engineering to ESL: Launching a Helen Doron English Franchise in France

Franchising with Helen Doron English was a natural decision for Elisabeth Ruelle-Mégrelis. Combining two areas of interest, English as a Second Language for children and entrepreneurship, the opportunity came at a perfect time in her career.  A busy working mother, Mégrelis believes it is essential for her children to know English, understanding that English is a gateway to global communication, education and professional success. For several years, Mégrelis sought English courses for her children in the Paris area but found that the available courses offered a very traditional methodology and very large class sizes with 15 or more children. Eventually Mégrelis decided, “This is the time for me to start my own company and why not open an English franchise?”

The idea of franchising wasn’t new to Mégrelis—she was introduced to the idea of franchising while working with her brother at a cosmetics franchise in Turkey. Together, they opened and franchised 5 stores and this gave her a taste and a feel for franchising. She then returned to France and worked for ten years as a petrochemical engineer.

After considerable research, Mégrelis understood that to be successful, she needed a programme that offered the very best pedagogy and had a methodology that matched her vision of how children learn best. Elisabeth has high regard for the Suzuki method of teaching music which applies the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music. This method uses the mother-tongue approach and children learn naturally without stress. Elisabeth hoped that she might find a methodology for teaching children English that could match this fun and relaxed approach.

Mégrelis entered “Suzuki, English, Children” into her browser and Helen Doron English appeared. “I knew that this was the perfect match for me and that I had found a methodology and an ideology for teaching English to children which meshed beautifully with my personal vision.” Within one year, she completed her planning and became the first Helen Doron English Master Franchisor in France.

Although the Paris Learning Centre located in the 6th arrondissment has its official opening on September 7, 2016, Elisabeth decided to offer a summer holiday programme for teens aged 12 and 13 years.   “Frankly,” she laughed, “they did not want to come; thinking it might be a very boring class; their parents forced them. “ But, after an hour the teens were laughing and enjoying themselves and were amazed at how much fun English grammar could be when learnt with the Helen Doron methodology which uses games and fun to make learning effortless. They were happy to return the next day. “It totally changed their vision of how language could be learned. This was a complete turnaround from how traditional English classes are taught in school with large class sizes, not much opportunity to speak and no real sense of immersion into the language. They enjoyed learning English, their parents were happy and all the boys want to attend classes in Autumn.” Mégrelis continues, “I am so happy that I was able to change their mind set and let them experience how much fun and effortless learning English can be’” she remarked. Mégrelis attended an intensive training and received both business and pedagogic training. Her teachers have also been trained in the Helen Doron methodology and bring to their lessons fun, creativity and a love of learning.

The new Helen Doron Master Franchisor reports that the district has given her a very warm welcome and people are happy to see an English Learning Centre in Paris. Many people have contacted Mégrelis; as of early August, 30 children are registered, 50 are pre-registered and more than 100 have requested more information. She exclaims, “We are just starting but the feeling is good. People are happy, my teachers are happy and I am very satisfied. I love the support that Head Office provides. This isn’t an operation where you pay a fee and are then on your own; with Helen Doron you get superb support and help as an entrepreneur. It’s a very good balance. “

Helen Doron, Founder and CEO is quite pleased that France is welcoming Helen Doron English and anticipates a successful relationship for many years to come. Doron remarks, “We are so pleased that Elisabeth has joined us as the first Master Franchisor in France. We anticipate that over the next 3 years that France will welcome an additional 50 fully franchised Learning Centres.”

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