China’s economic development over recent years has created new challenges for the country’s rapidly changing society. As home to one fifth of women of the world, China has more than 640 million women, constituting nearly 49% of its total population.
While more and more women are climbing the corporate ladder, there are still many problems associated with breaking through the “glass ceiling” – an invisible barrier that is felt by all aspiring women, but is unbreakable. This glass ceiling keeps most women from reaching the top despite qualifications or achievements. As a result, many women are devoting their talents and expertise to establishing their own businesses. Women entrepreneurs are becoming the norm in China, with about 20% of entrepreneurs in cities being women and an increasing number in the outlying areas also engaging in business activities.
Mao Tse-tung once said: “Women hold up half the sky,” and the Helen Doron Educational Group follows this mantra by empowering women to run their own successful businesses in China.
Currently, Helen Doron has 72 Master Franchisors, 653 Learning Centre Franchisees and 51 Learning Studios located on four continents. Nearly 90% of Helen Doron Early English (HDEE) Learning Centre franchisees and Learning Studios are fully-owned and operated by women. In China, four out of the seven Master Franchisors are women. Helen Doron is one of the few international franchises largely and successfully run by women, including at head office, where most executives and educational programme developers are women.
“I am very proud of this fact,” says Helen Doron, founder and managing director of the Helen Doron Group. “I think it is a win-win situation and, while our male Master Franchisors are equally successful, women possess important traits that make their businesses flourish.
“Firstly, women excel at multi-tasking, a vital tool for running any efficient business,” she says. “Women also seem to be more intuitive than men, or at least more willing to listen to their inner voices. This makes them more sensitive to nuance, picking up those subtle signals, which can be an important information resource in business dealings. Women also tend to be more patient and open to sharing their knowledge with work colleagues, thus expanding and reinforcing their networking system. In some cases, a woman’s more compassionate nature better motivates employees and helps attract customers.”
Before Claire (Weiqi) Jiang became Helen Doron’s Master Franchisor responsible for Shanghai, she dreamed of starting her own business. She majored in English at university, but after graduating, she joined BP and worked with the company for seven years. However, her interest in English education never went away and she felt the need to do something valuable within the field of English.
“After my son was born, I decided I wanted to get involved in early education, which I found more exciting than the petroleum industry,” says Jiang. “I heard about Helen Doron and after some research, I realised it was a fantastic way for children to learn English. The methodology is wonderful. It can really improve how children in China learn to speak the language and I wanted to be involved in bringing the Helen Doron method into China.”
Two years later, Jiang is running a successful Helen Doron Master Franchise in one of the biggest cities in the country. She has two Learning Centres operating in the area, with hundreds of students benefiting from the courses on a monthly basis.
Becoming a Helen Doron Master Franchisor will enable you to educate and thus empower the next generation of women. Speaking English contributes to cross-cultural competence and helps women to obtain and keep a leading position in a booming, yet still very male-dominated, 21st century China.
Eve (Yi) Li is new to the Helen Doron family of Master Franchisors. After working in Beijing for three years, she decided to move back to Xi’an and start her own business in the area of early English education.
“For about a year, I explored many early English brands and other early childhood education programmes in China,” says Li. “Then a good friend of mine in Shanghai told me about Helen Doron. She had taken her son to a Learning Centre there and she found the course methodology highly effective. She was extremely happy and felt it worked like ‘magic’ as her son loved going to classes and he had already started speaking English well.
“I decided to choose Helen Doron Early English and I haven’t been disappointed at all. Even though I am still at the beginning stages, about 99% of the parents and the children have been satisfied with the class and the methodology so far.” Li is now responsible for the Xi’an area.
“This is a great opportunity for women in China,” Li says. “Becoming a Helen Doron Master Franchisor means being part of a wonderful global network of franchises. The company supports you in every way, from business training and on-going support to providing marketing and promotional tools. This really is an international networking system you can depend on.”