At Impact Hub Berlin, we wanted to take a look at how our different members cross reference the Sustainable Development Goals and for goal number ten, “Reduced Inequalities” and we found that CHANCEN eG fitted that description perfectly. Florian and Olaf, founders of CHANCEN eG, started with the aim to break down the financial barriers to higher education so they created a fair financial model called “Income Share Agreements” to finance their tuition fees at University Witten/Herdecke. Over the last 3 years they have been offering this solidarity-based financing model to other schools and universities in Germany and now CHANCEN eG is a cooperative of over 280 members, mostly students, but also impact investors and private supporters, who are working towards instigating positive change in the educational sector.
Who are CHANCEN eG?
Olaf is our analytical mind and in charge of our financial forecasts, whereas Florian is constantly expanding our network by convincing more universities and impact investors of our model. Our project manager Ben is responsible for implementing our salesforce solution, and Nathalie, the latest addition to our team, is in charge of conducting selection interviews with students and organizing community events. South-African born, Batya is missing on the photo because she is currently in Rwanda to scale our financing model on her home continent. You will have a chance to meet her at the Hub in March.
Our mission is to make education accessible to everyone, irrespective of their personal or financial background. We provide tuition fee financing to students studying at non-public universities in Germany, and we are launching a pilot project with 400 students at Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. Students who are part of our community can study without having to worry about their tuition fees, and as soon as they start earning a salary, they make income-based repayments to the community. In that way, members who earn a high salary contribute more to the community than members who earn less. At the same time, repayments are paused as soon as a person earns less than a minimum income, giving our members the opportunity to pursue further studies, spend time abroad, take care of their family or do community based work without having to worry about debt repayments.
With SDG number 10 “Reduced Inequalities”, how do you relate to it?
The German educational sector is still not equal. For students from working class families or with a migration background, the system does not offer equal opportunities and they are disadvantaged. Many lack parental support in terms of academic assistance and financial support. Even though the state universities offer some solutions it by no means caters for all professions or offers an environment where students from lower income households can thrive.
But we believe that the impact of our model can be even greater in countries where the state offers even less support to students. In Rwanda for the students that we’ll support, the only options they have is to hope that they are one of the lucky 9000 who are selected for a government loan or hope that a bank will approve a very expensive loan. Inequality in education is rife, we are working towards changing this be ensuring that our students have equal opportunities in their academic life and that it will bring them further with their careers.
& what role does it play in your work?
By providing financial support to students irrespective of their background, we offer everybody the chance to study at private universities and thereby make the non-public educational sector less elitist. Our offer is especially valuable for students with modest socio-economic backgrounds who would otherwise not be able to afford the tuition fees of private universities. Actually, every third student we support has a migration background, and 60% of the parents have not studied.
Furthermore, by scaling our model to Rwanda, we contribute to increasing access to education in a country where education is even more dependent on a person’s social status. We believe that the donors who support our Rwandan students make an important contribution towards reducing inequalities both within the Rwandan society and between the global North and South.
Why choose Impact Hub Berlin?
For us, the Impact Hub is an ideal workplace that allows us to connect with like-minded people who are working towards positive change. We love meeting new, inspiring people over community lunch or wine downs. Besides, the Hub provides us with the facilities we need to work together as a team and to conduct interviews with students who apply for funding. We especially appreciate the possibility to book phone cabins and conference rooms and to have amazing photos taken by Liz.
What are your plans for the future?
We are planning to extend our university-network in 2018 and to offer funding to 200 additional students. Our medium-term plans include not only the financing of tuition fees, but also the cost of living for students. Our international plans include bringing our model to the DACH area, Uganda and South Africa. We are excited to see our network grow in the future. And of course we welcome any input or feedback from the Impact Hub community.
Thank you CHANCEN eG! See you around the kiez ?