Gulf Badminton Academy plans 25 franchise centers across Arabian Gulf cities

Gulf Badminton Academy is the first home grown sports franchise TAPPING INTO THE $5 BILLION YOUTH SPORTS INDUSTRY

Badminton as a sport has gained unparalleled growth in the past 8 years, since the start of the BWF Dubai Project in 2014. Dubai has proved its mettle to become a Global badminton Hub, both in terms of providing education and world-class facilities. Under the mentorship of former All England Champion Padma Bhushan Shri Pullela Gopichand, GBA plans to open multiple academies in and around their Dubai hub, aiming to take badminton to further heights. “We are committed to Franchisees success and provide extensive in-person training, online resources and ongoing supports to help launch and grow the business” says Mr. Ram Kumar Krishna Murthy CEO of Gulf Badminton Academy, Dubai.

1.    How did you enter the franchise business?

GBA after testing its success in 3 centres in Dubai with around 100 kids and adults, our Goal is to take a franchise route to expand and build the Arab region’s largest badminton network and provide aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to fulfil their dreams while empowering the aspiring players and families in their communities. Also we need to keep in mind that the main engine behind the concept of GBA is Mr.Gopichand who has incredible credentials not only as a great sportsman, but also has a great coach, spending every moment of his career promoting the sport of badminton through his academy , which has produced world call talent.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

The main idea of GBA is to Promote badminton in the Arab Countries, develop world class training infrastructure across each country, with a Centre of Excellence in Dubai which would be a nodal point of the same. Currently Badminton sport is getting more attention in Arab countries like Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. All the Arab countries need professional training to produce champions of repute competing at the global level at this point.

3. What inspired the brand name?

Traditionally the term “Gulf Region “encompasses most of the Arab speaking nations in the Western Asia region . The term Academy refers to a place of study or training in a specialized field.  The name Gulf Badminton Academy aims to promote physical literacy and grow the game of badminton in the region.

Pullela Gopichand, Former All England Champion and Chief Mentor of Gulf Badminton Academy

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

It is the shuttle cock (which is an open conical shape formed by feathers or plastic or a synthetic alternative embedded into a rounded cork or rubber base) which is the main pointer in the game whose flight and the spot it lands determines the outcome of the game. We felt that the shape of the shuttlecock makes it easy for everyone to identify with the game and we have used the tricolours of UAE national flag, as the brand originated from UAE.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Our Chief coach and mentor, Pullela Gopichand who has produced world class players also creates coaches who are trained in a particular process to train and coach aspiring and promising talent. Our main differentiator is that the training process is standardized on a successful coaching model created by Gopichand, which is replicated across all our institutions. Also, our method operates on a 360-degree model of all-round development of the individual.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

In my opinion, basically someone who has a passion for sports, and of course with the necessary business acumen.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

Typical ROI 1.5 to 3 years, but it depends on the potential of the geographical area, operational capability, local marketing ability and influence in the local community. They will have the assurance of the GBA management team backing them in all areas requiring support.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

In any career challenges come in various hues, but the most important thing is to look for solutions collectively as a team and focus on execution. We had to look at all facets of launching a franchisee model in the game of badminton, given the complexities of the terrain in terms of compliance and market potential. Today, we are confident that the model evolved with a global vision backed by the able mentorship of Gopichand will enable us to scale the business to a different height.

9. How does your business day start?

Well, every day is a different day for me given the exciting nature of the business. It starts with me meeting my operations team and the senior coach who spearheads the coaching team. It’s extremely a field-oriented activity and I enjoy every moment when I meet the students and their parents.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

The best part of my job is the community that I created with the network and with the employees: we have very strong links. These are like family ties, like in a marriage. We won’t always agree, but we continue to work together because we all believe in the Game and the project. When we see our trainee progressing and is reaching a level to take part in competition is probably the best moment.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

Our objective is to help the franchisees to expand across 10 countries and 25 cities and to develop our international network. The objective is to reach 25 GBA centres and 200 alliances with schools and corporate and other. First targets are UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

I think we owe it to the investor who believes in your brand to get the expected returns and ensure he/she is successful in all manners possible. The approach is a combination of compassion and being result oriented so that all the stake holders reap the benefit.

Pullela Gopichand at a Badminton training camp in Dubai,UAE

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