Kahini Chakraborty – Mumbai
Usmart Education, the wholly owned subsidiary of Mercury Travels has acquired Kuoni India’s education division ‘Kuoni Academy’. Under the alliance, Usmart Education has the exclusive license to use ‘Kuoni Academy’ brand name for India, South and South East Asia for an initial period of five years along with the transfer of Academy’s employees and business assets.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Ashwini Kakkar, executive vice chairman, Mercury Travels said, “As part of our long term vision, we launched Usmart (University of Services Management Academics, Research and Training) Education. We are seeing a lot of gap in the education and employment segment. Hence our long term vision is to bridge this gap. Presently, we have Kuoni Academy’s brand name for five years which can be also renewed in the future for the extension of another few years. Rajeev Wagle, managing director, Kuoni India will be on the board of the company.”
On the courses that will be offered to students, Kakkar informed that the courses will remain the same which Kuoni Academy presently offers. “However, we will also introduce new courses to suit the industry demands,” he added. On Usmart Education’s expansion plan, he replied, “We may not expand in the first six months. Later on, we will decide whether to open our own centres or operate through franchisees. Our focus on education coupled with the strength of Kuoni India will ensure our growth.”
Kakkar also mentioned about the the new Companies Act, 2013, passed by the Parliament in August 2013, wherein profitable companies must spend every year at least two per cent of their average net profit over the preceding three years on CSR work. “With this rule coming into play, a lot of companies will want to venture into the education segment in the future. We along with Kuoni India will work towards improving the skills of their employees and train them as well as nurture new potential talents in the industry,” he replied.