Tuesday, July 03, 2018

SEED to improve financial access to education, hosts clinic | ITREALMS Online

The Sustainable Education and Enterprise Development (SEED) has reiterated resolve to improve financial access to the education sector, as it hosted a clinic, reports ITRealms.

ITRealms reports from the maiden edition of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic recently in Lagos, founders of SEED, the W-Holistic Business Solutions, revealed this resolve.

According W-Holistic it planned to leverage the network of 723 Affordable Private Schools in the six education districts of Lagos State, insisted that the aim of SEED Access to Finance is to improve 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 organisers declared.

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 Maiden Edition of the SEED Access to Finance Clinic had 307 Affordable Private Schools out of its network of 723 Affordable Private Schools in attendance.

The Maiden Edition of 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. 

Stressing 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-on-one. 

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 channeling such funding to the underserved 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. 

Further, he 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.

In attendance at the clinic were 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.

Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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