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  • Writer's pictureYoussef Osman


Over the past few months, I've had many discussions with owners and managers of regional robotics clubs, STEM centers, and other businesses involved in educational and competitive robotics. They have all expressed concerns about the survival of their businesses due to the severe economic crisis in Latin America, Africa, and, unfortunately, Egypt.

It's unfortunate that both educational and competitive robotics are directly impacted by the world's political and economic climate. Here are a few strategies that could potentially help your business navigate these challenging times:

Surviving the Economic Crisis: Strategies for Edu-Competitive Robotics Businesses (PART 1)

1. Collaborate with Schools & Educational Institutes: Such collaborations offer free promotion and stable student enrollment if courses are offered by the institute as an extracurricular activity or integrated into STEM lessons. Additionally, this would allow you to have secondary premises, which may be used for storing equipment, running additional gatherings or even saving your business if you need to shut down your primary location. It is important to take into consideration your targetted market segment [Age, Language, Living Standard, Location] when forming an educational institute collaboration.

  • Benefits: Stable enrollment, business promotion, additional premises

  • Drawbacks: Collaboration terms and conditions, additional costs for employee transportation, potential need for recruitment or training, bulk discounts

2. Promote Locally: Focus on promoting your business at regional events, fairs, carnivals, and similar gatherings. This allows direct interaction with your target audience, enhancing awareness and potentially increasing enrollment rates. Although that might have a spontaneous effect on your business' popularity it may not translate into sales in the short term. However, ensure that marketing costs do not exceed your budget or adversely affect other business areas.

  • Benefits: Increased enrollment rates, enhanced brand popularity, valuable feedback, and better market segment interaction

  • Drawbacks: Potentially high costs

3. Reduce Running Costs: Due to the economic conditions, you might need to make difficult decisions to sustain your business. This could include reducing working hours, adjusting salaries, temporarily closing additional premises, or transitioning to home-based sales employees and online team meetings.

CRM Recommendations (for organisational management and communication): Connecteam, Salesforce, Hubspot, Wix, Microsoft Teams, Deputy, Workforce, Squarespace,

  • Benefits: Reduced running costs and responsibilities, potential for increased gains if well managed, encourages higher employee effort through a strict selection

  • Drawbacks: Costs of implementing a CRM/CMS, possible negative impact on organizational reputation among workers, tough decision-making

4. Invest in training: Providing training for current instructors will ensure that they all have the necessary expertise in the newly introduced robotics platforms. This will enhance the organization's performance in courses and competitions, increase organizational loyalty, and ultimately reduce the costs associated with replacing or recruiting new instructors.

Recommended Training Procedures: Online training provided by trusted providers, training sessions conducted by international trainers, and instructors competition; allow management to assess the instructors' skill sets, experience and understanding of the set. Call-back of retired/past experienced instructors to conduct training.

  • Benefits: Improve and assess instructors and increase their loyalty to the organisation.

  • Drawbacks: Training and assessment costs

5. Simulators instead of buying new sets: There are a variety of online/offline free and paid simulators for almost all robotics platforms and programming languages/options. Temporarily relying on simulators instead of purchasing new sets can significantly save costs. I recommend evaluating any platform purchase using this formula: (Total Component Price) / (Average number of course enrollments * Enrollment fees).

Results should be interpreted as follows: ≤ 1 (Excellent Purchase), > 1 and < 5 (Good Purchase), > 5 and < 7 (Neutral Purchase), > 7 and < 8 (Risky, consider lifespan and usage), > 8 (Extremely risky, reconsider).

Recommendations: Virtual Robotics Toolkit, VEXCode VR, SCRATCH, MakeCode, WeBots, TinkerCad, RoboVirtualWords

Benefits: Reduced expenditure on new sets

Drawbacks: Annual simulator subscription (for some), potential need for instructor training

In part two we will be discuss the following Strategies;

6. Start online programs

7. Participate in national competitions/ instead of international franchisees

8. Internships

9. Shared centers

10. Labs/Rooms Arrangement & Order

Part 3:

11. Sell Outdated Hardware or Reuse it

12. Other programs

13. Selling Facilities

14. Fundraising programs

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