Mathnasium – Making Math Fun Again


We interviewed Bernardo Teixeira Motta, the CEO of Mathnasium UAE (Link). He shared with us how he set up Mathnasium, a new franchise business, and the challenges he faced being a pioneer in UAE.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

In the 1990s, education industry pioneers Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff recognized that, to truly be successful in school and in life, students need a solid understanding of mathematics. There was a vast disconnect, though, between students’ learning skills and the math curriculum they were taught in school. To address that gap, they founded Mathnasium — a math-only learning center committed to providing the world’s best instruction. Their goal: teach children how to think, with the skills to succeed in math and the confidence to achieve their academic potential.

After an exhaustive search, they found the perfect person to help them achieve their vision: Larry Martinek, a beloved educator, teacher trainer and curriculum consultant. Larry and Mathnasium’s expert team spent years refining the most powerful teaching methods and materials into the comprehensive, industry-leading Mathnasium Method.

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

The first Mathnasium Learning Center opened in Los Angeles in late 2002 and began franchising in 2003. The extraordinary dedication of Mathnasium’s local center owners and staff, combined with Mathnasium’s child-centered approach, proved wildly successful. Mathnasium has become an award-winning, world-class math education company, and global demand for our service has soared.

We all know the businesses that excel are those that provide better than expected customer service and experiences. These companies build brands and praiseworthy reputations to go along with them. Mathnasium centers are where countless success stories have taken place – seeing children progress, change their attitudes, increase their sense of value and, ultimately, develop a brighter outlook for the future. The results continue to lead parents to tell other parents and students to tell other students about all that Mathnasium has to offer.

3. What inspired the brand name?

Mathnasium is a combination of the words math and gymnasium – our programs are designed to stimulate what we call math muscles in the mind.

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

We aim to make every child a math genius and boost their classroom performance to be A graders. Hence the A+ in the word math replace the letter “a” and “t”.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Mathnasium is a math-only learning center that teaches kids math the way that makes sense to them. Our experienced math tutors utilize our proprietary teaching materials and techniques, The Mathnasium Method™, to deliver a customized learning plan designed to address each student’s needs, whether they started out far behind or are already ahead in math. Our instruction approach goes beyond traditional math tutoring to develop understanding and build a love for math.

If math is a problem, Mathnasium can solve it. Students will grow more excited and confident about math—and their grades will reflect that.

For students who already excel in math, the sky’s the limit. They will work to expand their math skills and, with math learning made exciting, can see all the doors that being great at math can open.

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

When making the decision to become a Mathnasium franchisee, keep in mind that you are not only investing financially in a math franchise. Even more importantly you are investing the equity in yourself. What is that equity? It is your compassion, enthusiasm and your commitment to follow our systems – acting on every opportunity to make your education franchise better.

In turn, we are investing in you. Working together is the equation for success.

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

On average, the payback time is 2-3 years. However, we have had franchise owners whom have realized their investment in 12 months only.

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

I’d say to set up Mathnasium, a new franchise business, and to be a pioneer in UAE was quite challenging. The brand was not known in the region, private one-to-one tutoring was the most popular method to improve math after school and to bring such a new concept with 1:4 teacher to student ratio and providing customized learning plans was also very innovative.

We knew Mathnasium worked very well in the US and it was boosting students’ math skills, so we knew that positioning the brand as a leader of Math skills development in the market was key. It was all about hard work, adopting a strategic thinking to enter the market and allowing parents to see how quick their children would improve and start loving Math.

8.1.What is your best achievement?

To have developed a business in the UAE and in the region that positively impacts the education and future of children with a success rate of 98.2%.

9. How does your business day start?

I start off my day at 5am by checking emails and work-related WhatsApp messages, then making sure I get some sports in for an hour afterwards. As of 7.30am, the day starts with calls and meetings.

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

To ensure the same successful brand awareness and leader position that we have in the UAE, but for the whole region.

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

We understand that the thought of first-time business ownership is intimidating, but that’s the beauty of the franchise model – a proven operating system has already been established. All you have to do is follow the path.

While there is no magic combination of skills that ensures tutoring franchise success, a characteristic you must possess in order to run any franchise is to have the passion for the industry you would like to franchise in.

Get to know who are the industry key players, visit our Interview of the Week page.

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To learn more, visit our Franchising Tips section.

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