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Gladys Franco and kids
Award Winning Jacksonville Language Academy

FALA Language Academy, Gladys Franco and Adriana Brinkman

Title / Role: Co-Founders
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Formed in: 2017
What do you do?

FALA Language Academy  teaches Spanish to all age groups in the Jacksonville, Florida community and surrounding areas with a unique approach that makes learning another language fun and easy. We offer a wide range of high-quality services to fit both your personal and business needs, including classes for children at after-school programs, summer camps, tutoring, translation, and interpreting services.

What inspired you to start your business?

After spending multiple years in senior management roles (CEO and CFO), leading another successful language academy, and serving in corporate assignments, we decided there was a void in the marketplace for a unique program. We love helping children learn foreign languages in fun ways so they can experience/benefit from the advantages of being bilingual. Our personal goal is to make sure that “The World is one language away”.

What's special about your business?

FALA's summer camp program uniquely combines fun STEM projects with Spanish language instruction for children. Each week, a different Spanish-speaking country is covered...from culture, art, music, famous landmarks, and even cooking all done in Spanish.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

The most exciting part of this business is seeing the smiling, joyful faces of the children as they quickly grow comfortable speaking a second language. Our FALA families are extremely supportive and very loyal with many providing referrals to their friends and families. One of the biggest challenges was wondering if we would ever get this business launched, but with the help of SCORE, we survived the start-up process.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE volunteer What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

Referral from the Small Business Administration.

How SCORE helped.

After completing our business plan, we were able to convert those ideas into action with the help of our SCORE mentor. It's one thing to dream and write a business plan, but the real advantage that SCORE provided us was a practical implementation that brought our dream to life quickly.

What's great about my mentor?

We always knew we would get sound advice and guidance at every phase of our start-up. Beyond information and creative marketing ideas, we always felt the extra moral support from SCORE that you often miss as an entrepreneur. That alone gave us an extra boost of confidence to persevere toward our goals.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

If you have a great idea, don't be afraid to explore the opportunities of creating a business to deliver to consumers. To reduce your risk, invest the time and energy to make sure you are solving a problem for consumers. Seek help and guidance from an experienced SCORE counselor and educate yourself with many of the local SCORE workshops that are offered.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

You truly can re-purpose your corporate skills and experience into a business of your own that solves a common problem for many people. Parents and children alike love our engaging and easy approach to learning a second language.

Additional media
FALA Open House sign with employee dressed in a red dress and tiara.
7825 Baymeadows Way, Suite 100B
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 443-1911

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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