Take centre stage with LIPA 4:19

For some franchises there is significant financial temptation to expand rapidly. Yet LIPA 4:19 has adopted a stable and careful approach to its awarding process to protect the quality of the brand

LIPA 4:19 is the stage school franchise of the renowned Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), which was co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. It offers classes in acting, singing and dancing for children aged four to 19.

LIPA 4:19 offers prospective franchise owners the opportunity to become the principal of their own academy. The investment opportunity is flexible: franchise owners can take a hands-on role and help teach the classes (providing they have a teaching qualification) or alternatively can take a managerial role and oversee the running of the academy and leave the teachers to run the classes.

The first LIPA 4:19 franchise launched in September 2008 and since then, the company has embarked upon a strategy of steady and cautious growth, with additional franchises in London, across the North West and in Bulgaria.

Sammy Murphy, acting head of LIPA 4:19, says: “For us, it’s not about the number of franchises, it’s about choosing the right franchise owners. We have always generated lots of interest, but we’ve been very careful about who we award our franchises to.

“Our brand is a strong one because we’ve worked hard to build and maintain it, along with our franchise owners. We look for people that truly represent our brand and can provide the best teaching environment for children and then spend a substantial amount of time training them.”

As part of the franchise package, new LIPA 4:19 franchise owners are provided with a training course held at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts academy, where they receive a thorough induction into the marketplace, teaching style, curriculum and operations.

To complement the course, franchise owners are given an Operations Manual to refer to and also benefit from access to proven marketing strategies used by existing LIPA 4:19 academies, plus help establishing their franchise from the experienced support team.

LIPA 4:19 opened its latest academy in Ramsey on the Isle of Man in January. Dance teacher Laura Walkom opened the academy after the subject was cut from her school’s curriculum, meaning that she no longer had a job and that her students had nowhere to learn dance. After her students launched a Facebook campaign to save the classes and her as a teacher, she knew there would be demand for a LIPA 4:19 franchise.

Sammy says: “Laura was an ideal candidate for a franchise as she has a strong performing arts background and a good head for business, and that’s what we look for. She had done lots of research and was confident that there is real demand for performing arts education on the island.

“This was evident when she received hundreds of enquiries before opening and she is planning to open three franchises in the next 10 years. This talent and enthusiasm, coupled with the strength of our brand, is the perfect mix for a thriving franchise.

“What’s fundamental to our success is the standard of what we’re offering – we’re the only stage school franchise that’s linked to an established performing arts school, while our academies are designed to complement, develop and enhance themes within the key stages of the National Curriculum.

“That’s what makes it so attractive for students and their parents and many of our franchise owners reported strong enquiries and enrolment numbers at the start of the year. Indeed, our franchise in Knutsford, Cheshire enrolled 12 new students in January for the new term.

“We’ll continue with this approach to ensure that the LIPA 4:19 brand is the strongest it can be and that we’re offering the best possible performing arts education across all of our franchises.”

An initial investment of £13,500 plus start-up costs is required to set up a LIPA 4:19 franchise. Full details of the earning potential will be provided to qualified applicants.