So, it's been a hectic few weeks, with us first finding the best possible space, talking to different contractors, drawing and redrawing our centre's rooms to best utilise the space, incorporating the company, setting up the bank account, getting MOE approval, and research on the appropriate test to use for our learning styles test. I'm (Joshua) writing this blog to document our experience starting up the centre, and share with everyone our thought processes, priorities (both for our students and for ourselves), as well as our philosophy.
We have four founders, and we come together from quite different backgrounds, and before we embarked on starting Basecamp Learning Centre Singapore, everyone actually didn't know each other, but everyone was common friends with me. We incorporated the company with ACRA as a private limited company on 30 Sep. Desmond had a car accident and was hospitalised in mid-September, and we met him at his ward to incorporate the company, but we accidentally registered Basecamp Learning Centre Singapore as a Partnership and not a Private Company, and so it was only after a few weeks of clearing up the issue with ACRA that we incorporated end of Sep.
Incorporation is actually quite a tedious process, we had to draft our custom Memorandum and Articles of Association because we wanted to put in place a vesting scheme. Basically this means that all of the founders are committed to staying in the company for a certain amount of time before their shares are fully acquired. This gives everyone an incentive to work hard to make Basecamp Learning Centre Singapore a success.
Setting up the bank account was relatively easy, even though there were many documents required by the bank. Amanda actually wanted her company debit card name to be Taylor Swift at first, which apparently is allowed (see my card), but prudence and good sense prevailed, and we all used our proper names.
We looked at quite a few potential places for our centre, at places at Kallang and Chinatown, and in the end we decided on Katong Shopping Centre as it is near many schools and there's a thick market of tuition and educational services in the area (a thick market has many buyers and sellers, so search costs are lower, nerdy link here). Just off the top of my head I can count at least five other tuition centres in the same building, but we are confident that the compelling and high level of quality education we are offering and the experience of our teachers will draw parents and students to choose us over the competition.
We revised the drawing of our classrooms a few times, and each time we shrunk the corridor leading to our classes to open up more space. We actually started with a 1.8m corridor to give our centre breathing space and not look so cramped, but once we actually put tape on the floor to visualise how the place would look, it seemed that even 1.3m was more than enough. At the time of this writing, this is how the place looks and our plans for the rooms.
If you look at the plan, you'll realise our rooms are actually very big for our intended class size (12 students per class), about 20%-26% larger than MOE regulations require. We don't believe in cramming students into a small room as we want them to have personal space to learn and be comfortable during lessons. We also plan to install lots of power points in each of the rooms so that our students can come in to study during the day and have enough power for their laptops.
The three big rooms will be our classrooms, and the smaller room on the bottom left will be our staff room, where we will mark assignments, conduct training for our teachers, and make our lesson plans. We share our lesson plans with our email list subscribers, so do sign up at the bottom of this page if you want to see how they look like. At the bottom right, the small alcove would be a waiting area for parents and also our printer.
We are going to start renovations in the next two weeks, so do check back! This is how the place looks now, it's going to change alot over the next few weeks!