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The Bardon Group announces the sale of its educational technology franchise, ComputerXplorers, to leading franchisee Stuart Harley

The Bardon Group announces the sale of its educational technology franchise, ComputerXplorers, to leading franchisee Stuart Harley

The master licence for the UK’s letting educational technology franchise ComputerXplorers has been sold by the Bardon Group to one of the brand’s top performing franchisees, Stuart Harley.

Chairman of the Bardon Group Nigel Toplis has stepped down from day to day running of the Bardon Group to pursue conservation interests in South Africa.  Moving forward, The Bardon Group is to focus on its business to business franchise brands Recognition Express, Kall Kwik and Techclean. Consequently the directors decided the time was right for a new owner to take ComputerXplorers to the next stage of its development.

Nigel Toplis said: “We have invested time, money and resource in creating what I believe to be the foremost children’s education franchise.

“Despite COVID the business is currently at its strongest and I believe is primed for significant growth over the next two to three years.

“However, father time doesn’t stop for anyone I and feel the time is right for me to move on to other things.

“I own a house in South Africa and the intention is to spend more time there over the next few years. We have adopted an elephant and I am in the process of setting up a charitable trust to work with elephants and rhinos to provide sanctuary and protection for them.

“Mentoring our Bardon Group franchisees has always been one of my most important roles, so when Stuart and I discussed his ambitions for the future it seemed an obvious transition for him to take on master licence. He is passionate about the brand and is one of our top performers. My co – director Laurence Bagley and I wanted to ensure that ComputerXplorers found a good home and we are confident that under Stuart’s guidance the brand will go from strength to strength.”

Stuart Harley launched ComputerXplorers Southampton in 2019. With a background in business development his ambition has always been to build a bigger business. His original vision was to expand across the south coast territories ,but when the opportunity to take on the whole business came up he jumped at the chance.

“From when I first met Nigel it became a standing joke that one day I might have his seat, “ said Stuart Harley. “But I didn’t actually believe it. I have always had the ambition to do more, to grow more, to do different things. So when we had the conversation and the opportunity arose although I didn’t expect it, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. The proof is in the pudding so the Bardon Group directors obviously liked what I’ve done at ComputerXplorers Southampton so far.”

He has exciting plans for the business, working closely with the other 15 franchisees to take ComputerXplorers to the next level.

“The business has a great DNA. It just needs tweaking in a few areas, a new website and a new feel for the brand to keep us at the forefront of education technology franchises. I am aiming to grow the network to 25 within two years and establish ComputerXplorers as the local authority provider of choice.

We’ve set up a steering group to shape the future of our business. We have so many specialists within our own network we have all the skills we need to do everything in house from writing new software packages to marketing, graphic design and business development. Together we’ll achieve our ambition far faster and more collaboratively.

Stuart plans to keep the cost of a ComputerXplorers franchise at £14,950. Whist its current focus has been on delivering technology lessons to children aged from three-13, the age range for the new look ComputerXplorers model has been extended to 19. The  scope of Stuart’s own business in Southampton has broadened  significantly to deliver places under the Department for Education’s new Holiday and Food scheme, and working with children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities. All of these additional services will be incorporated into the new-look ComputerXplorers franchise model.


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