CATALYZING Blended Finance for Education: Introduction and Findings from the Literature
CATALYZE EduFinance was thrilled to introduce the Community of Practice for Blended Finance for Non-State Education with this kick-off webinar on August 25th. The webinar provided updates on the state of blended finance for education globally before deep-diving with a panel of experts into the implications for future innovations in edufinance.
Following introductions by Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) Julie Cram and Suezan Lee, Amit Brar, CATALYZE Education Finance Specialist, presented key findings from the literature. Roland Pearson, CATALYZE Executive Director, moderated a panel of education and blended finance experts including Sandeep Aneja of Kaizenvest, Singapore, Maya Ziswiler of UBS Optimus Foundation, and Suzanne Roddis, education finance consultant. The webinar closed with an audience Q&A and information for participants about how to join the Community of Practice.
Amitabh Brar (Amit)
Amit, CATALYZE’s Education Finance Specialist, has over fifteen years’ experience in the design, oversight and execution of investment projects in low-income and conflict-affected countries. His expertise includes sourcing, negotiating, and executing equity and debt transactions using blended finance and private equity structures. Prior to joining Palladium, Amit served as Chief Investment Officer at Grassroots Capital Management where he incubated and managed a portfolio of education finance companies in Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Earlier, Amit served as Investment Director for Caspian Advisors in India, where he conducted due diligence and market research for a South-East Asia focused fund; and led monitoring and intervention in portfolio companies in India. Amit has also led business planning and capital advisory projects in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for Shorebank International (Enclude). Amit is a CFA Charterholder and holds an M.S. in Finance from London Business School. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Urdu, and basic Bangla and Spanish.
Roland, Director of Innovative Finance in the Economic Growth practice, joined Palladium in November 2018 with Palladium’s acquisition ofEnclude, after having served as the Managing Director of Enclude’s Capacity Solutions Business and Practice Director of Inclusive Finance, since 2014. Roland now leads the $250 million, 8-year USAID CATALYZE Innovative Blended Finance program. He is a senior executive with 30 years of experience in the design and implementation of new private and public ventures, especially those requiring blended finance and impact investment. In that context, Roland has raised, structured, or managed nearly $1B in debt and equity capital in support of SME, microfinance, affordable housing, infrastructure, and rural development initiatives.
Over a nearly two-decade period while living and working in eastern and southern Africa, Roland started, grew, and successfully divested from two companies. He holds a BA with Honors in International Relations from Brown University and an MA with Honors in International Finance, Business, Economics, and Law from the Fletcher School. He is fluent in French and can read and speak conversational Spanish.
Caroline, Associate, supports the CATALYZE EduFinance activities in LAC and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Caroline leads the Community of Practice development for the EduFinance activity and works closely with the EduFinance Director & Manager on both technical and day-to-day operations of the activity. Prior to joining CATALYZE, Caroline supported USAID’s Feed the Future Malawi Agricultural Diversification activity as the operations associate. She has extensive experience working with youth, especially adolescent mothers, children, and families, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and New York City.
In New York, Caroline spent two years working in early childhood development, supporting the implementation of a bi-lingual preschool curriculum research project in five Head Start preschools. Caroline holds a Master of Public Health degree in Global Health from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America.
Suzanne is an education researcher specializing in education quality and access, innovative funding and private public partnerships. Her recent assignments have focused on primary non-state education provision in Asia and Africa. Prior to becoming an independent researcher, Suzanne worked in the World Bank Africa region and later in the private education department of the International Finance Corporation.
Sandeep’s passion for investing in innovative companies drove him to establish Kaizenvest (Kaizen Capital Management), an education focused investment firm headquartered in Singapore. Kaizenvest is the only education sector investor targeting emerging Asia and Africa, where it is regarded as a leading investor in the sector and a well-respected thought-leader. Kaizenvest’s investors include institutions from the US, Europe and Asia. As founder, Sandeep has been instrumental in driving the overall strategy and building the firm's knowledge and client network across the globe. Collaborating with entrepreneurs who have a deep sense of purpose and a plan for solving difficult social problems, Sandeep works to improve human wellbeing in emerging markets by investing in social sectors such as education, wellness and financial inclusion.
He sits on the boards of various education companies across the Philippines, Vietnam and India and is a frequent speaker on emerging investment and impact trends globally. Sandeep has been a part of the venture capital and private equity industry since 2002 and has been credited with numerous successful transactions in technology (software and services), education and education technology. He has a MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Maya is the head of programs and social finance at the UBS Optimus Foundation. Her team develops high impact philanthropic programs in education, health, child protection and the environment. After spearheading the Foundation's work on the first Development Impact Bond and impact linked loans, she and her team now develop a range of innovative social finance solutions to mobilize private capital in new and more efficient ways.
Prior to this role, she was the Foundation's Program Director for Education and Early Childhood Development. She joined the Foundation from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria where she was responsible for managing partnerships with the private sector. Previously, Maya worked for UNICEF in Peru and Procter and Gamble's development and export markets. Maya holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Geneva. She speaks French, English, Spanish, German and some Mandarin Chinese.
Ms. Lee is the Senior Education Finance Specialist in the Office of Education in the Economic Growth, Education and Environment Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development. In this role Ms. Lee provides the strategic education finance guidance to USAID’s $1 billion education portfolio, specifically with regard to public-private partnerships, public financial management and innovative financing mechanisms to further the education strategy goals in reading, workforce development and equitable access in conflict-affected and crisis contexts. She also serves as the activity manager for the Catalyze EduFinance program. She has also served as the Deputy Basic Education Team Leader and chairperson of the USAID 2009-2011 Education Strategy Committee.
Previously, she has worked in the Office of Development Credit and was instrumental in the issuance of the largest bond issuance for Georgia. She has also worked at the International Finance Corporation in the education team and with the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, serving as the Legislative Affairs Liaison Ms. Lee holds a Doctorate in International Education from Boston University and a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from American University.
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