Chance meeting leads to Kathleen’s new franchise

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A chance meeting provided Kathleen O’Donnell with the perfect formula to set up her own business.

With more than 20 years’ teaching experience, latterly as a chemistry teacher, the 56-year-old has decided to swap the classroom for her own tutorial business, launching Kip McGrath Kelso in June.

Now, youngsters who need help to build their confidence in key subjects can turn to Kathleen to get the one-to-one assistance they require to fulfil their potential.

Founded in 1974, Kip McGrath is a global franchise network with more than 215 tutoring centres in the UK helping primary and secondary age children improve their English, reading, writing, comprehension and maths skills.

“My family and I had moved to Jedburgh after many years living in England,” explained Kathleen. “Shortly after we arrived 18 months ago, I bumped into the owner of the Kip McGrath franchise in Galashiels.

“She was retiring and looking for someone to take on her franchise. That conversation got me thinking, and after doing my own market research I decided there was a need for tutoring in the Borders, especially since the only other local franchise was closing.”

Kathleen turned to Business Gateway Scottish Borders at the start of the year for advice.

“I attended a series of start-up workshops to get my bearings,” she recalled.

“The seminars provided me with everything I needed to know to get started.

“I also enjoyed meeting other people who were in the same boat.”

Lyn Galloway, Business Gateway, said: “You don’t have to have grown up dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur or had a globetrotting career to start a successful business.

“Kathleen is an experienced teacher who is now doing something she never thought she ever would.

“With our help she was able to get an understanding of everything that needed to be put in place before starting.”

Kathleen told us: “What attracted me to Kip McGrath was its ethos – every child has individual needs that require tailored assistance to help them achieve all they can educationally.

“My business isn’t here to compete with the school system, but support it by giving children concentrated, individual attention to help build self-esteem, greater understanding and arm them with learning techniques that will help them throughout their whole school career.”

For more information on Kip McGrath Kelso visit or call Kathleen O’Donnell on 01573 408586.