NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – Cytonn Education Services (CES), which is Cytonn Group’s education affiliate, today opened doors to its Cytonn College of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, (CCIE).
The college, which is located at the Queensway Building on Kaunda Street in the CBD, is Cytonn’s flagship college for vocational and technical training, with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as a distinguishing factor for all graduates.
The diversification into education was essential for 4 key reasons; First, the need to provide education in their various real estate developments, such as RiverRun Estates in Ruiru, The Alma in Ruaka, The Ridge in Rideways, and NewTown in Athi River, all which have space allocated for education facilities for either Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE), Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions; rather than give up all these locations to different education brands, it made sense to build a brand, Cytonn Education Services, that will deliver education facilities in comprehensive mixed use communities developed by Cytonn Real Estate.
Second, is the need to package the attractive returns in the education sector for local high net worth and institutional investors. Local investors have typically been relegated to only equities and fixed income, which collectively have returned 10 to 12% per annum compared to private equity and investment grade real estate, which have returned 20 to 25% per annum. Education has attracted many private equity funds, for example the investment in Brook House School by Africinvest, investment in Hill Crest by Fanisi, investment in Brook House again by Educas, investment in KCA University by Emerging Capital Partners from Washington DC and most recently the investment by Advtech in Makini Schools. Just as Cytonn Real Estate has enabled us to package attractive investment grade real estate opportunities for our investors, Cytonn Education Services will enable us to package attractive private equity opportunities in education for our investors.
Third, is to develop talent for the country and for ourselves especially in regard to the presidents “big four” agenda pillars of affordable housing, which is the core focus of the Cytonn Centre for Affordable Housing and in manufacturing. With the high unemployment rate, the College will focus on developing graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit. Top graduates in technical areas such as plumbing, electrical and masonry will be guaranteed jobs in our real estate projects.
Finally, this initiative enables us to diversify our revenue streams away from investments and real estate, to education, which is an annuity business.
Speaking at the launch, Edwin H. Dande, Cytonn Investments Chief Executive Officer noted that “this is a very important step both for Cytonn and for the communities we operate in. Cytonn College will deliver on 4 strategic imperatives.
First, it shall provide the education facilities component of our comprehensive mixed use developments, second it will enable our investors access the attractive education sector given recent deals in education, third it shall develop entrepreneurial technical talent for two of the presidents “big four” agenda in affordable housing and manufacturing, with top graduates in building programs guaranteed jobs in our various projects, and finally, it is an opportunity to further diversify our revenue streams from financial services and real estate.”
Speaking during the launch, the Business Manager- Cytonn Education Services Benjamin Ikenye said “Through our education investments, we seek to provide quality education for Kenyans. Cytonn is already a leader in middle income housing and investment management, and this natural progression into education will be built around the same core value of excellence and delivering with integrity. While not just providing quality education, Cytonn Education Services will fill the technical skills gap in the real estate development and construction industry, and reduce unemployment in the country by providing quality employment opportunities to successful graduates. We have already established a Board of Directors for Cytonn Education Services, which will provide guidance and oversight, while ensuring the highest standards of education excellence and corporate governance are maintained.”
The Cytonn College of Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been rolled out by Cytonn Education Services, as they seek to provide training to an increasing number of students who do not meet the entry requirement to join universities and to people looking to enhance their careers by gaining a technical skill. “We are targeting one percent of students who fail to meet the entry level requirement for universities, which will translate to 3,000 students over the next 4-years” noted Faith Maina, the Investments Analyst for Cytonn Education Services.
The college will offer technical classes in the following schools; School of Engineering, Building and Civil Technology, School of Computer Sciences, School of Business and Accounting, School of Hospitality and Tourism, School of Journalism and Mass Communication and School of Cosmetology.
The college will focus on giving its students practical training in entrepreneurship, through a compulsory entrepreneurship course, coupled with mentorship by established entrepreneurs and an opportunity to incubate business ideas at the end of their training period in the college.