I recently spent time with a dear friend who is a successful business owner and strategic philanthropist. He had just returned from a two-week trip to Africa looking at a dozen or so ministries/organizations that he has been involved with over the years. We discussed his observations of Edify in Rwanda, which is our newest country (first loan made December 2011 and first training for school proprietors February 2012). He was very pleased with the Edify model and thought our emphasis on training was extremely important to our success.
He asked if making loans to schools was the most effective use of funds. He saw a number of micro-finance institutions that made capital available for very small businesses and also noticed commercial banks that were making business loans. He asked if it would make more sense to focus on the training and providing curriculum. I shared with him the important market niche which Edify fulfills. Micro-finance institutions loan a general range from $50 USD to $1,200 USD and do a great job of helping provide capital for very small businesses. Commercial banks are often looking to do larger loans that require less work relative to the amount of money they can earn on a loan. Edify loans are for capital improvement, additional classrooms, and computer labs. 90% of Edify’s loans range from $1,200 USD to $25,000 USD. It is very difficult for a private, low-cost school to find capital and this is our market niche. My friend instantly said, “This makes perfect sense! You need to illustrate this to your supporters.”
So here is a graphic illustrating Edify’s important market niche. I love what the low-cost, private schools do in providing quality, Christ-centered education to children. It is our privilege to come alongside them with training, curriculum, technology, and yes, capital which is very difficult to attain and much needed.