Asia-Pacific is currently delivering more than 60 percent of global growth – and is expected to grow stronger. Despite the promising outlook, the region has to manage its demographic transition in order to reach the full growth potential. This includes preparing the economically productive population with competitive skillsets through academic and vocational education. This article highlights three start-ups taking the fintech approach to make education available for all.
Dana Cita is a lending platform that provides affordable student loans to help Indonesians pursue higher education. Founded in 2017, the platform is aligned with President Joko Widodo’s call for greater financial access for students. With a straightforward online credit evaluation and approval process and low flat interest rate, Dana Cita caters for students pursuing Diplomas, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, as well as non-degree courses and trainings. For those who come from lower economic backgrounds, Dana Cita offers a longer repayment period, up to twice the course length. As of March 2018, Dana Cita has distributed around two billion rupiah (US$144,000) in student loans and received seed funding from a US-based accelerator, Y Combinator.
Shiksha Finance is an Indian start-up offering financial assistance to educational institutions and parents in the state of Tamil Nadu. Shiksha’s vision is to improve education infrastructure and reduce the number of school drop-outs. Since 2015, the start-up has provided loans to 15 private schools in Chennai to help procure, maintain, or upgrade assets. Each of these schools has to identify students who struggle to pay their tuition fee – whose parents are then eligible to apply for Shiksha’s student loans. This referral system is a win-win solution, as Shiksha can ensure that its loans are distributed to those most in need, while the school can ensure that they get the fees on time.
SkolaFund is a Malaysia-based crowdfunding platform for higher education students and researchers to raise money for education expenses and projects. Fundraisers can organise a 30-day campaign on the platform, and SkolaFund will help promote the campaign using their social media accounts and reaching to their contacts. The platform also allows individuals and institutions to create customised scholarships – or SkolaShip – which will be awarded based on their own terms, conditions, and selection criteria. The start-up secured funding from the Startupbootcamp FinTech program in 2015, and has raised $15,900 in investments to date.
Image credit: Clomedia.