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Breaking the Tribal Ceiling: NagaEd first Naga  company to procure Foreign Direct Investment

Morung Express

First FDI in Nagaland

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Founder Kevisato speaking at The Vineyard teaher graduation ceremony

Co-Founder Shiroi at teacher training workshop

In what can be aptly termed as ‘breaking the tribal ceiling’, NagaEd has made history by bringing in the first-ever Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nagaland through its digital education company. For the first time in the history of Nagaland, international investors are investing in a Nagaland based company through FDI.

“NagaEd is demonstrating local companies are investment-ready with robust business models and the growth potential international investors are looking for,” says Kevisato Sanyü, Founder of NagaEd, upon closing the pre-seed investment round. The recent investment round was procured from Australia and Singapore as well as domestically.

For him, their breakthrough in overcoming stringent compliance and regulatory requirements set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is creating a clearing for other local companies to pursue global investment opportunities never before experienced by Nagas.

According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, India stands as one of the largest recipients of FDI inflows in the world, receiving USD 64 billion (Rs. 4,92,791 Crore) FDI in 2020, making it the fifth-largest recipient of FDI inflows in the world. However, the investment coming to the North East region stands at about 0.1%, out of which zero comes to Nagaland.

Dynamic and enterprising 

Stating that NagaEd has pulled off a surprise by being the first to bring in FDI into Nagaland, Alemtemshi Jamir, CEO of the Investment & Development Authority of Nagaland feels that this bunch of young people are indeed dynamic and enterprising. Apart from their novel intrusion into the area of Education in the State – that strives to synergize the systems of education with the “New Normal” using the digital mode, he remarks that “they have brought in foreign funds into Nagaland, in the form of Foreign Direct Investment.”

“For a resource-starved state like Nagaland, this is music to the ears and heralds a new beginning for the youth,” he further adds. FDI plays a substantial role in stimulating economic development, particularly in developing regions like Nagaland. It creates a more conducive environment for companies and investors, in turn, helps stimulate jobs in the local community. However, decades of neglect have deprived local companies of capitalising on economic opportunities through FDI.

A new chapter 

 

“The arrival of foreign investors into Nagaland and the Northeast signals a new chapter for the region and a testament to the changed situation on the ground,” says Laldinkima Sailo, Singapore based public policy and international affairs advisor. Yet, he asserts that “it is important to remember that investments will follow enterprises and startups like NagaED that are grounded on robust business models and looking to make a real impact on society.”

On the importance of FDI, he emphasizes that “foreign investments are sorely needed for the region where investment capital is scarce.” “Their expectation on returns can give a focus on creating efficiencies and give a boost to the startup and business ecosystem,” Sailo puts across.

A new model 

It may be noted that ALSiSAR Impact, a Frontier market incubation and impact advisory entity has been instrumental in NagaEd’s growth journey and facilitating investment in the North-East Region.

In this regard, Anuj Sharma, Founder & CEO articulates that, “we want to stand beside Naga entrepreneurs who wanted to build sustainable businesses, we wanted to build a new model for the entrepreneurs from the region so that they could derive inspiration from the extraordinary and indomitable entrepreneurial spirit that NagaEd founders Shiroi and Kevisato bring. This groundbreaking FDI also allows the Naga people to believe that they can in fact lead a sustainable venture, and raise capital from the global investment community.”

Uplift education quality 

        Teachers at NagaEd teacher training course

NagaEd, founded by Kevisato Sanyü and Shiroi Shaiza, seeks to uplift education quality in tribal and indigenous communities by delivering teacher training courses and implementing digital learning management systems into local schools. 

“Digital education is not a question of if, but when,” articulates Kevisato. “Our people have a great opportunity to leapfrog into the 4th industrial revolution.  We are preparing the next generation for the future of work by bringing the world’s best technology and practices into their classrooms today”, Kevisato goes on to explain.

“The technology exists today, in fact, there are 4,200 digital education companies in India alone. The real gap for tribal and indigenous communities is not a lack of existing technologies but in the training and end-to-end implementation requirements local schools have,” Shiroi substantiates.

Pointing out that “we found that many large non-local companies are not willing to make that kind of investment in Nagaland,” she further expresses that, “we partnered with expert educators from Australia and utilised the sensibilities of local teachers to create our teacher training programs.”

With his most recent position being the Academic Evaluation Specialist at RMIT University, Kevisato Sanyü left a comfortable and lucrative position in Australia to reconnect to his roots. He personally feels that “there is a certain connection to one’s land we have as tribal Indigenous people. Spending time with the Indigenous Aboriginals in Australia helped me understand this feeling and in turn, helped me make my journey home.”

“During the 25 years I was in Australia many of our family members passed away. As a young boy in a foreign land, I felt helpless and often wondered, “What is my contribution to my community?” God willing, NagaEd is the answer this question,” Kevisato relates while highlighting his reverse migration.

Providing quality educational resources 

NagaEd has provided quality educational resources and training to over 7000 teachers and students since its inception last year. Affirming that they will continue to develop their training and technology and bring global best practices to our Academic Partner schools, Kevisato also highlights that “recent surveys found that 95% of students agree that our platform has helped them with their studies. Furthermore, most teachers agree that NagaEd enhances their technical skills are enthusiastic about applying their training into the classroom.”

When asked about their recent experience with NagaEd, Principal of Vineyard School, Leneno Y Disong puts across that, “our teachers are trained in digital skills and have moved beyond Whatsapp, Google Classroom & Zoom. The NagaEd platform is enabling them to use a lot of tools to enhance the teaching-learning process. With digital learning now occupying a significant role in education, it is crucial that our teachers are trained in this area. We hope to move forward incorporating the best of both traditional methods and modern digital practices.”

NagaEd is also involved in national and international programs that help build and scale start-ups such as the Alsisar Impact Incubation program, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Ed-Start Accelerator and IAspire-India Accelerator’s first all-women technology accelerator program.