Learning English continues to be one of the pending subjects of the Spanish educational system and for this reason, for years, academies have proliferated to reinforce language learning. In Barcelona, one of the pioneer companies in offering this service is Bekith, founded in 1982 by the Argentine businessman Carlos Gerardi.
The business started offering conventional English courses but over the years, it specialized in meeting the needs of the little ones through schools and summer camps. “We realized that the age group from three to ten years old was not as covered as that of adults. We started in Barcelona looking for public and private schools as clients. My father, Carlos Gerardi, also expanded the business to some cities in the rest of Spain through another independent company”, says his son Carlos Gerardi, who took over the Bekith business in Catalonia.
As a result of the confinement imposed during the pandemic, the Barcelona company adapted face-to-face classes to the online format and this commitment allowed it to grow during the crisis. “Currently, we provide services to 60 educational centers, 35% of which are public and the rest, private. The turnover last year reached a total of 3.5 million and the EBITDA (gross profit) of more than 10%”, points out the owner of the business, who this year plans to boost sales to 4.5 million euros.
Gerardi says that through the new online training Bekith has been able to grow outside of Catalonia. “We have around 1,200 students in the Basque Country and soon we plan to enter the Valencian Community, Madrid and the Balearic Islands. The physical centers that my father opened in the rest of Spain all closed except for one that is still operating in Galicia, ”says the owner.
With a team of 250 people (80% of whom are teachers), Bekith faces the coming years with growth forecasts through a new business commitment. "We have never collaborated with academies and in the future I would like to open our own centers in the cities where we operate," says the owner.
In parallel, Gerardi participates in the business of the restaurant company Nueve Reinas, which controls four Argentine food restaurants in Barcelona. The business bills around seven million euros and is run by his brother, Adrián Gerardi, in addition to two other partners.