(Sundiata Post) – W-Holistic Business Solutions, founders of Sustainable Education and Enterprise Development (SEED), recently hosted the Maiden Edition of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 in Lagos State.
SEED is an integrated training, mentoring, business development and access to finance solution for revolutionising the emergence, growth, success and sustainability of Education Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) (i.e. private schools: pre-school, primary, secondary and vocational schools).
The SEED solution towards school development and transformation implements targeted improvements using a hybrid of physical and online solutions. SEED develops and improves schools’ capacities using a scalable and sustainable model. By promoting a ‘learning and doing’ culture, SEED nurtures its SEED Schools (SEED Alumni) in transforming their schools into high performing Sustainable Education MSMEs which are fit to obtain finance to grow their enterprises.
As part of the multipronged approach of the SEED Solution, targeted at schools in Nigeria with the aim of developing and transforming them for better and sustainable education service provision to children from lowincome households, which includes Quality Assessment, Business Development Training, Mentoring, Advocacy and Access to Finance, SEED held its Maiden Edition of the Access to Finance Clinic from its network of 723 Affordable Private Schools in the 6 Education Districts of Lagos State.
The aim of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic is to improve the access to finance for SEED Beneficiary Schools and serve as a platform for the schools to understand the requirements for financing, get further information on various finance options, and commence the access to finance process(-es) for their preferred option(s).
The theme of the Maiden Edition of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic was “Financial Inclusion for Affordable Private Schools” with presentations by the SEED Access to Finance Partners including Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Sterling Bank, Jessefield Microfinance Bank, Lotus Capital and FINT.
The SEED Access to Finance Clinic had 307 Affordable Private Schools out of its network of 723 Affordable Private Schools in attendance.
The SEED Access to Finance Clinic also featured a Keynote Presentation by Nigeria’s first licensed credit bureau, FirstCentral Credit Bureau, represented by the bureau’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Mr. Olanrewaju Agbede. Other features of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic included messages from Heads of School Associations, which are SEED Acquisition Partners, and messages from one of the partners of SEED, Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria (DEEPEN). The SEED Access to Finance Clinic also had a Panel Discussion session, Updates on SEED Project session and Breakout Sessions which contained Visits to the SEED Access to Finance Partners’ desks by the SEED Alumni for Contact and Registration on Various Finance/Loan Products.
According to the CEO of W-Holistic Business Solutions and Project Director of SEED, Mrs. Olanrewaju Oniyitan, in her Welcome Address, the SEED Access to Finance Clinic was initiated to bridge the gap between Affordable Private Schools and Finance.
She reiterated the history of the SEED Project which was started as a result of the desire and interest to change current status of education in Nigeria and positively affect the future incomes and livelihoods of today’s school-aged children through a multipronged business development support approach which impacts major stakeholders in the school business sector including school owners, school administrators, teachers, parents, communities, and most importantly, the school children. She added that the SEED Alumni in attendance should be open minded towards the opportunities which the SEED Access to Finance Clinic was going to afford them including the opportunities to interact with the SEED Access to Finance Partners one-onone. She urged the schools to take full advantage of the platform for accessing funds for aspects of their School Transformation Plans which required external financing for their schools’ growth and sustainability.
During his message on behalf of one of the SEED Funders, Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria (DEEPEN), the National Program Manager, Dr. Gboyega Ilusanya, stated that there was an essential need for partnership and support for low-cost private education in Nigeria as these private educational institutions contribute to provision of services to children from low-income households.
He opined that despite the increasing debate across the world on the UKaid’s funding of low-cost private education as against channelling such funding to the underserviced and underfunded government-owned public education, it remains critical that funding should also focus on low-cost schools as enabling environment including access to finance should be provided to them to support their sustainability towards education of children from economically-disadvantaged households.
He further stated that partners seeking to support low-cost education should focus on ensuring regulations leading to enabling environment for service providers, access to finance, school improvement services and access to information for their growth and continued existence.
He added that the approach adopted by SEED for Affordable Private Schools provided a sustainability platform for low-cost schools while lauding the SEED Project including the SEED Access to Finance Clinic.
Representatives of School Associations including the President of Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Mrs. Ifejola Dada, and the Chairman of Association of Model Islamic Schools (AMIS), Lagos State Chapter, Alhaji Misbaudeen Zakariyah, took turns to describe the SEED Project was a laudable and impact intervention by W-Holistic Business Solutions towards changing the narrative and landscape of Affordable Private Education in Nigeria as the SEED Project has been able to address critical challenges faced by Affordable Private Schools in Nigeria.
In his eynote Address at the event on “Know Your Credit Rating”, Mr. Olanrewaju Agbede of FirstCentral Credit Bureau said it is important for schools to know their credit ratings before accessing finance as a lack of knowledge on their credit ratings will limit them in their quest for funds for their school improvement plans and thereby disadvantageous to them. He stated that the information on credit rating aids in securing loan access and increases pool of finance facilities at disposal of the schools. Furthermore, he stated that MSMEs receive so many rejections from finance institutions because they do not have adequate knowledge on what to do to access these finance options.
He enumerated other reasons for MSMEs getting rejected by finance institutions such as no credit history, bad financial history, poor credit rating, lack of collateral and irregularities in information provided by prospective borrowers, adding that funders before giving our finance seek for information on the applicant’s history, verified information by the applicant for authenticity. He concluded by saying that a good credit history by MSMEs will lead to more negotiating power for the MSMEs and increase in chances for approval for access to higher credit facilities.
The event segued into the presentations by the SEED Access to Finance Partners including Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), represented by Mr. Charles Anyanwu, Lotus Capital, represented by Mr. Jamiu Bhadmus, Sterling Bank, represented by Ms. Sherifah Balogun, Jessefield Microfinance Bank, represented by Mr. Kehinde Oyeleke, and FINT, represented by Mr. Chiwete John-Njokanma. The SEED Access to Finance Partners presented their finance/loan products, including education-focused packages, to the SEED Schools in attendance. Also, the SEED Project Director, Mrs. Olanrewaju Oniyitan, representing SEED, presented the SEED option for finance, SEED Solutions, which is the SEED Fund-a-School/Education Voucher. Following the presentations, there was a panel discussion on the theme of the event and participants at the event asked panellists questions ranging from their products to their product requirements to funding for Affordable Private Schools. The Maiden Edition of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic closed with the SEED Schools in attendance visiting the desks of the SEED Access to Finance Partners for more information and registration on their available finance products.