INDIVIDUAL BUSINESS IDEA FORM

Assignment due June 15, 2009
STUDENT NAME: Maja Petkovska

Description of business idea: maximum 200 words: School performance assessment and improvement consulting company (SPAICC): Back in 2005, with reforms in the primary and secondary education system in Macedonia, new concepts of quality assurance through internal and external school performance assessment were introduced. While the external is conducted by the State Educational Inspectorate (SEI), the schools themselves hold the responsibility of internal self-assessment. The only support for this new activity the schools received was from a project of the Ministry of Education and Science, which is about to be closed in less than a year. According to the SEI external assessment reports, the results so far are pro-forma self-assessments, usually copypasted from other schools, development plans which are not based on solid data, leading to underperformance of the schools in quality assurance and ultimately in low quality education provision. SPAICC will provide expertise to schools interested in conducting objective self-assessment on the basis of which feasible development plans will be prepared. SPAICC workforce will include experienced education professionals and specialists, who will mentor and coach schools assessing themselves based on the National School Performance Quality Indicators. The services may be extended in direction of offering support to schools in implementing the activities set in the development plans. Who are your customers? All primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Macedonia. Why will customers prefer you to other alternatives? SPAICC will be specialized in offering school performance assessment and improvement services only. At the moment, some schools use the services of consulting companies dealing with improving management in general, which proved to lack the specifics of the very unique nature of school performance and quality assurance in education. How will you communicate this preference to customers? At the beginning, unless additional funding is secured from donors working in the field of education in Macedonia, low-budget information campaign will be organized, developing SPAICC briefer and fact sheets, distributing them to all schools nationwide, and organizing eight (in line with the Macedonian local hub

centres) regional focus group discussions with school directors. The respected national specialists working for SPAICC will lead this campaign in cooperation with the Education Committee within the Association of the Local SelfGovernment Units, thus gaining the thrust of the school management staff. How will you actually acquire customers? During the first year of operation, SPAICC will offer free office-based consultancy services, whereas school-based consultancy, mentoring and coaching will be offered with 20% discount. The first-year customers will be granted permanent free-of-charge membership in the SPAICC customers club (see “How will you retain customers?” section below). How long will it take to acquire customers? At the moment, schools are dedicating the period when students are out of school (summer) to self-assessment and development planning. However, SPAICC, though its information campaign, will put emphasis on the importance of the continuity of the assessment and development process rather than its current cyclic nature. Thus, if SPAICC is established at the beginning of the calendar year, and it spends two months on information campaign, the first customers are expected early spring the same year (four to five months). How much will it cost to acquire each customer? Assuming that after the first five months of operating, SPAICC will attract 5% of the total number of schools, the cost per customer will be approximately 1200€, including salaries for two full time employees, consultancy fee for local experts and information campaign costs. Provided the number of customers is higher, the cost/customer will decrease. How will you retain customers? SPAICC customers club will be established with several levels of membership. One of the main objectives of this part of SPAICC will be to inform all schools of our service portfolio and to keep all our members up-dated with latest developments in the education quality assurance process in the country, with emphasis on timely provision of latest versions of the National School Performance Quality Indicators, which are to be revised and updated by SEI on annual basis, or more frequently if need arises. The different levels of membership will be granted on the basis of years of membership and number of services used and will reflect on the discount offered for SPAICC services.

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