What are your goals for investing into education? Social, impact, financial return?
A financial return, but our investment also has social impact because of the ripple effect caused by providing good education to students to contribute to the growth of the economy in the future. Our investment has also enabled the institution to grow, providing jobs.
Many market entrants find investing into education for the first time a challenging market. What top five factors would you recommend new investors consider before investing into education in Africa?
- This is a long term endeavor
- Costs of land are a challenge
- Getting the balance between commercial and teaching needs is important
- Teachers are unique
How does doing business in Africa differ to the other markets that you have worked in?
Relationships and human interactions seem to matter more in Africa than other parts of the world.
Numerous entities have preconceived ideas about investing in education. What’s the greatest misconception about investing in education, and what’s the reality?
The misconception is that investing in education can be a quick turn-around of capital. The reality is that education is a longer term investment, and growing an education business requires time and effort unique from other businesses. Parents sending their children to school are making a long term investment and commitment. A school has to appeal to parents not because they see it in newspapers, but because the quality of teaching is good. It is therefore not a quick-return investment. Getting both the real and perceived quality of education takes time.
Which geographies hold the greatest potential for investment?
Early years vs K-12 vs Higher vs Vocational – Where is the greatest need and where’s the best return?
There seems to be a greater need for vocational, where the higher returns seem to lie as well
Bricks and mortar vs educational technologies? Which sector will attract the greatest investment in the future?
In the future it will be educational technologies, but at the moment it’s predominantly brick and mortar. This however is subjective.
Fanisi is a venture capital fund investing in growth businesses across East Africa. Investing in education has been a rewarding experience from both a commercial and development impact view point. It has become one of the core sectors of investment for Fanisi.