Early learning and sport in franchise package

5:00 AM Saturday May 7, 2016 Paul Charman

Kicking off

  • Some key elements required to become a New Zealand Master Licensee for Little Kickers: good work history and business experience, a clean credit history and no criminal convictions.
  • In addition, the purchaser will be required to complete an application form provided by the UK Franchisor. This requirement is standard within the franchise. Any franchisee the Master Licensee appoints will be required to complete a similar application form. “Little Kickers is focused on maintaining the quality of the business as a whole,” say Yvette and Michael .


Experts in child development and FA qualified football coaches have helped design the Little Kickers programmes.

“Little Kickers”, a programme providing pre-schoolers with foundational skills for several ball codes, is well-established in New Zealand.

Yvette and Michael Summers-Gervai hold the licence for Little Kickers and a similar programme called “Little Rugby”, having nurtured and guided expansion of the brands among a network of Kiwi franchise holders since 2009.

Their company, Myeden Ltd, is the New Zealand master licensee for the Little Kickers Global Franchise.

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Little Kickers now has a network of 246 franchisees operating in 16 countries — having become the world’s biggest and most successful pre-school football academy — with plenty more to come. And it seems to have really hit a nerve in sports-mad New Zealand, say the couple.

“Kiwi families relish the fundamental football and rugby skills provided, plus the development of early learning goals imparted through a variety of role-play techniques in a fun environment,” says Michael.

But in light of fresh challenges, he says, it is time for the couple to move on. “Effectively this means selling our business and placing responsibility for future development here into a safe pair of hands.”

Michael points to two opportunities: Firstly, an opportunity for an excellent operator to take over the New Zealand licence itself; secondly, an opportunity for suitably qualified and motivated individuals to take on one of the 13 exclusive franchise territories.

Helen Roberts, the Canterbury franchisee owner, says “Little Kickers is an incredibly positive organisation. Its mission is to provide every pre-school child with a positive introduction to sport and also to become the market leader in the pre-school football and rugby sector world-wide.”

“The business benefits from its simple operation, low overheads, good cash-flow, established mature systems and the benefit of being in the popular early childhood health, fitness and education sector.”

The licence purchaser will benefit from time and effort already invested, “which significantly reduces the risk otherwise associated with establishing a Master License Operation in a new market,” says Christine Stanschus, CEO of Little Kickers

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By buying the master license exclusive territory for New Zealand, the purchaser will secure: the rights to operate the franchise system, license trademarks and intellectual property, rights to grant franchises to sub-franchisees within the limits and territory provided by the master license agreement, stock, assets and an established business with significant further opportunities for revenue growth. The price for this business is $205,000 plus $25,000 stock.

“This is an excellent opportunity for anyone with a history of achievement, who is passionate about early childhood education, health and fitness and has the desire to operate and grow a successful business.”

Little Kickers started in the Britain in 2002. Christine Stanschus was living in London and spotted a gap in the market when trying to find pre-school football classes for her son. Child obesity was a hot topic and Christine couldn’t believe there weren’t pre-school classes to get young children involved, so decided to do it herself.


With a career in investment banking rather than football coaching, it was clear she needed to play to her strengths in business and find football and developmental experts who could help her shape the classes.

Christine focused on building a brand around “fun first” making sure she worked with experts in child development as well as FA qualified football coaches. Together they created programmes to deliver high quality football skills, combined with important pre-school learning concepts such as colour and number recognition, sharing, following instructions and using imagination.

“There’s no resting on our laurels; the programme is constantly being enhanced with the help of experts and hence it continues to grow rapidly,” says Michael.

“The mission statement is to provide every pre-school child with a positive introduction to sport, and become the market leader in the pre-school football sector worldwide.”

Yvette and Michael say the national licence holder’s role is, “to operate the business ethically and to treat our customers and employees as we would like to be treated ourselves. Plus, of course, to have fun.”