The lack of access to quality education is a perennial issue among many young Filipinos. And this problem worsened when the COVID-19 pandemic struck — as schools closed, and students were forced into distance learning. Here lies new challenges: the lack of devices and access to stable internet connection for online learning, not to mention the mental health issues students face.
Carmina Bayombong, the CEO and co-founder of globally acclaimed impact business InvestEd, knows these struggles very well. Speaking at “Expo Live Impact Series” during World Expo 2020 in Dubai on December 13, Bayombong shared how InvestEd changes the way Filipino students get financial support for their studies, especially during the pandemic. The expo was participated by different international organizations and 192 nations, giving InvestEd an avenue to amplify its vision and mission for the youth. Aside from participants from other countries, overseas Filipino workers in Dubai also came to the event to learn about InvestEd’s innovative solution to education access.
Invested has so far provided loans to thousands of students from low-income and poor households, covering tuition, living expenses, and even gadgets for distance learning. While loans for tuition still account for a huge chunk of its portfolio, the impact business saw a rise in loans for gadgets as students struggled to adapt to the new classroom setting.
“We also fund other education needs like [during] the pandemic our gadget loans really picked up [because] a lot of students didn’t have the money to buy a laptop when learning went digital,” she shared.
“We partnered with a big e-commerce platform and pay the platform directly, [so] the laptop just gets delivered to the student’s home, and also internet bundles for e-learning.”
But this is just one of the ways InvestEd disrupts education access in the developing world.
Bayombong emphasized the three C’s that InvestEd provides to students: capital, coaching, and community—a holistic approach in empowering young dreamers to reach their goals in life. Capital refers to InvestEd’s student loans, which can be used for tuition, miscellaneous expenses, and even gadgets for distance learning. On top of this, investees are also provided with coaching support to equip them with necessary competencies for adulthood, as well as a community where they can get socioemotional support.
Instead of loan processors, students applying for a loan at InvestEd are accommodated by financial counselors. And once repayment begins, students primarily deal with coaches instead of collectors.
InvestEd “pioneered a counseling type of collection method,” anchored on its belief that young dreamers are at a formative stage where they can be taught creditworthiness. And in serving the disadvantaged, the impact business focuses not on how much students currently have, but on who they can become as a person. InvestEd also provides loans for vocational and non-traditional education tracks, as “tide is shifting” with how employers consider non-degree holders.
“What we imagine as a product for students is that whatever your dream is, there should be a company that helps you achieve that dream in the way you want to achieve it and the resources you need to achieve those dreams are provided and reachable. Overall, the company providing that should always be thinking about student welfare.”
Expo Live Impact Series is a number of conversations and networking events designed to bring together like-minded individuals to discuss how purposeful innovations are playing a meaningful role in creating a better future. At the heart of this event are 140 awardees from 76 countries whose solutions and innovations are the essence and the heart of The Good Place Pavilion. The series aims to redefine what is possible and inspire new partnerships between entrepreneurs, corporations, governments, and individuals.