• Little Zak's Academy chose unique programs such as football, french, yoga and cooking to offer a point of difference in the market. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
When Maged Zaki left Egypt for Australia, he was determined to transform new challenges into opportunities.
Philip Ly

SBS Small Business Secrets
3 Dec 2017 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 8 Feb 2018 - 11:03 AM

Choosing an industry with high demand ensured Maged Zaki’s business had a solid foundation.

For Mr Zaki, it was the childcare sector, which is expected to top $13 billion in revenue this year.

The Egyptian entrepreneur opened his first child care centre two years after migrating to Australia in 1991.

“When I first came to Australia, life was very hard and tough – I used to be a manager of a company back in Egypt and when I came here there was nothing,” he said. 

After working multiple jobs and only getting a few hours’ sleep a night, he and his wife bought his first centre and later called it Little Einsteins.

He made quality childcare his priority and the business steadily grew, until he was approached to sell seven Little Einstein centres.

It was a strategic move which helped him expand and rebrand his business and develop Little Zak’s Academy, to eventually become a major player in the market.

After five years, his family business has 18 centres open and counting.

But selling a brand he built from scratch was not the easiest decision - it came at a cost.

“I was very upset when I sold the name because it was as though [I] raised [my]son and just left it,” Mr Zaki said.

“It was my baby and then I left it. Your name and reputation is number one in business.”

His years in business has taught him a crucial lesson: “think outside the box.”

His childcare business is designed to meet children’s needs with programs such as French classes, cooking lessons and even yoga on offer.

Mr Zaki credits his business success to his strategy of not only working hard, but smart as well, even though he believes he now works in what is “one of the hardest and most regulated businesses in the market”.

“You have to be happy with what you’re doing, you have to have some guts and you have to work hard for it while believing in yourself.”

Want to find out the secret to small business success? Tune into #BizSecretsSBS at Sundays 7am on SBS, stream on SBS On Demand, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.