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  • Pearson invests in a preschool venture to advance learning through affordable education

    Published on July 1, 2014

    Bangalore:Pearson the world’s leading learning company, today announced an investment of INR 30,00,000 ($50,000)  in Sudiksha Knowledge Solutions, the company behind a chain of  pre-schools offering affordable education in Hyderabad, and the winner of the  ‘Edupreneurs’ programme, a partnership between Pearson and Village Capital.

    Sudiksha aims to use the funds to expand its schools to more locations in and around Hyderabad, and to continue to measure and improve the impact it has on the young learners. The investments was made through the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF), an investment fund established in July 2012 to support early-stage high-quality education enterprises serving lower socio-economic groups across the world.

    PALF Managing Director, Katelyn Donnelly, said while commenting on this development, “We are thrilled to invest in our first Edupreneur programme winner. We are excited to work with Sudiksha to learn more about low-cost early childhood education models. Sudiksha is the first example of our desire to help education starts-ups focused on low income populations at an early stage.”

    The investment fulfils PALF’s commitment to Sudiksha as part of the 2013 Edupreneurs programme. Edupreneurs is business incubator programme that invests in entrepreneurs focused on innovative products and services, which improve outcomes and access to education for learners from economically weaker sections. Sudiksha was one of the two winners of the 2013 Edupreneurs programme based on a ranking done by its peers in India. Peers consistently scored Sudiksha high on its business model, commitment to education and efficacy, as well as the strength of the founder.

    Sudiksha operates pre-schools in underprivileged areas in the urban Hyderabad. They have implemented an innovative model that recruits educated housewives locally to run branches under an incentivised profit sharing scheme, thus developing the skills of women alongside children. These women are usually educated women with no previous professional employment. They are trained to run franchise locations near their homes promoting child-centred learning so students ‘learn by doing’. Presently Sudiksha reports having made a difference in the lives of approximately 800 underprivileged families as a result of their pre-school network.

    “In 2014-15, Sudiksha’s plans are to stabilize company operations, pilot a franchisee model with existing and new entrepreneurs and build the base for expansion,” said Sudiksha founder and CEO, P Naveen Kumar.

    Naveen Kumar, continues, “We are so excited about this investment because this partnership will enable Sudiksha to not only stabilise its operations, but also further refine new streams of revenue and impact. The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund has remarkable experience in this space and Sudiksha is going to get great benefit.”

    PALF vice president, Amar Kumar says, “Our investment in Sudiksha is the latest example of our commitment to improving learner outcomes for low-income populations around the world. We want to invest in high-potential education entrepreneurs who put learners at the heart of their business and strategy. This is what makes Sudiksha an ideal partner for Pearson.”

    The investment in Sudiksha marks the sixth in the PALF portfolio and represents the fund’s commitment to delivering high-quality education to low income communities in the developing world.

    The PALF investment is part of a larger round of funding with co-investors Ennovent, Opes Impact Fund, Village Capital, and Mr. Sadeesh Raghavan. Previous investors in Sudiksha include The Eleos Foundation, First Light Ventures, and the 1to4 Foundation.