Education is a powerful tool, one that is critical in uplifting the lives of those who live in poverty. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest country, has more than 111 million people under the age of 25 but only over 50 million students. And while the government has increased its education budget and pushed reforms, there’s still a substantial gap in accessibility and quality — almost half of students fail to meet minimum standards.

Part of the struggle is that the two key players in the sector — schools and students — do not have access to the financial products they require. That is why Accion Venture Lab is happy to announce our investment in Pintek, a specialized education lender in Indonesia. Pintek provides financing to small & medium private schools and low-middle income families.

These private institutions often face challenges investing in serving their students. Regulation requires privately held schools to register as foundations. This restricts their ability to provide collateral and access long-term loans to improve facilities and hire staff. This has become an even more urgent obstacle as schools find themselves in need of extra funding to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they need to invest not only in the regular expenses for maintaining and improving buildings and classrooms and recruiting qualified educators, but also in their online competencies and e-learning platforms. As the future of learning is quickly being accelerated, schools need to be able to adapt and improve their digital capabilities and offerings.

On top of the challenges schools face, students have their own obstacles to overcome. Capacity constrains mean most are left outside of the coveted public system (the five Indonesian universities in the top 2,000 are public), so families resort to private options. Students can’t attend school if they can’t pay the tuition fees. Especially in the last few weeks, as households have seen their income decline as wages have been cut and livelihoods lost, installment payments are necessary to prevent a big decline in enrollments.

At Venture Lab, we are excited that Pintek is serving schools and students through inclusive finance, technology, and innovative processes. And as this pandemic has underscored, investing in critical industries, such as education, is imperative for our shared future. We chose to invest in Pintek because:

During the current pandemic, we are proud of how the team has handled the issue and continued to support and work with its customers. Pintek quickly teamed up with edtech platforms and school management systems to provide their school partners financing for these products. The team also sent out a survey to parents to understand their needs and help shape Pintek’s product offering.

As we continue to actively work with Pintek through this crisis, we understand that this is just one bump in the road and we have a long journey ahead. We have seen how Pintek is addressing critical needs, and we are excited to work with the founders, co-investors, and other key partners in pushing forward the company’s mission of providing sustainable and inclusive finance to the education industry. By making good education more accessible, we can build a brighter future for everyone.

Double Your Impact

Manashi tends to her rice crops in Odisha, India
Give today and your donation will go twice as far to help small-scale farmers and communities thrive. Gifts will be matched through June 30, up to $5,000.