FIFI PETERS: We are stepping into the private education space, where tertiary education provider Stadio has launched a new scheme that will see its students receive shares in the company upon their graduation. It’s called the Khulisa Student Share Scheme. Students will also receive a share investment portfolio by Investec, who will manage it.
Here to discuss this further is Stadio CEO and founder Chris Vorster. Chris, thanks so much for joining us. It’s certainly out-of-the-box of thinking here that you guys have put together. Just tell us a little bit more about what Khulisa aims to achieve.
CHRIS VORSTER: Good evening, Fifi, and thank you for the opportunity. I’m very excited about the new share scheme for our postgraduate students here at Stadio. The word ‘khulisa’ means to grow and develop people in the communities. So this is an attempt for us to build on our mission statement of supporting our students, giving them more opportunities, and then also to grow their potential wealth from these early beginnings after graduating with Stadio.
FIFI PETERS: Perfect. I pronounced that wrong there. So sorry, Chris. Khulisa. But let’s just talk more about the scheme. How many shares have you got to give here, and at what ratio will they be given per student?
CHRIS VORSTER: Maybe I must start off by making it clear: these are shares given to our postgraduate students. These are students who completed an honours, master’s, doctorate [or] a postgraduate diploma. So postgraduate students.
Each student will receive the value of R1 000 Stadio Holdings shares on completion.
FIFI PETERS: Is this a form of a BEE empowerment deal, and who qualifies for it? I know you mentioned postgraduates, but is racial makeup a criterion?
CHRIS VORSTER: Fifi, currently … about 78% of our student population is black. So the majority of the students that would receive these shares would be black students. But for us it is more focused on empowering our students. We believe that we are empowering them with their qualifications that they will receive from Stadio well sought-after qualifications.
And now we also want to build a relationship with our students and be their lifelong learning partner. We believe with the share scheme students will stay [with] Stadio for this lifelong learning experience.
FIFI PETERS: What do you mean by ‘lifelong learning’, Chris?
CHRIS VORSTER: Stadio wants to be the provider of all your post-school educational needs, so students can start with Stadio. Those who perhaps don’t get a degree-pass at school can start off with a higher certificate programme, then move on to a degree, and thereafter move into the postgraduate qualifications, right up to doctorates.
But for those who are not interested in the higher degrees we have skills training and skills programmes available that would be updated continuously. So you can upskill yourself continuously over the whole duration of your career.
FIFI PETERS: All right. Just remind us again – what price will the qualifying students who receive these shares have to pay for them, because usually with these share schemes there’s a price that has to be paid and a lock-in period in which the shares are held before they are fully released.
CHRIS VORSTER: Our students pay nothing for the shares. We, as an institution, will go and buy the shares in the market so that there’s no dilution for our current shareholders, and then make them available to these postgraduate students. Yes, there is a lock-in period of two years. That is for us, with our partner in this scheme, which is Investec, to educate our students on markets and how to go about shares – understanding how building your own portfolio works.
We have all those experts available that within that two-year period work with these individuals and really assist them in creating a well-balanced portfolio in time.
FIFI PETERS: Will they pay dividends?
CHRIS VORSTER: Yes. As dividends become available, definitely they will have all the benefits of any of the shareholders in the Stadio group.
FIFI PETERS: This is a fantastic initiative in my view that you are [taking] in terms of increasing the level of financial education out there, and also the ability for people to start the journey of creating wealth. But what was the initial motivation for you, Chris?
CHRIS VORSTER: It was just that, Fifi, we stand for widening access and we’ve seen that the majority of students, especially students at Stadio, would not have ventured into the financial markets on their own. This will give them a wonderful opportunity to start with the whole generation of wealth that they can create at a very early stage.
Secondly, for us a big value in doing this is we want to partner with our students, as I say for life, and get a valued alumni and get their feedback. They will go into the workplace with a Stadio qualification. We believe we will, with the share scheme, create a very active and participative alumni, because they will be shareholders and really give us quality feedback on how to improve our product, how to be the best out there. That is how we approach this whole scheme.
FIFI PETERS: Chris, thanks so much for joining us. A very, very interesting initiative there. That was Chris Vorster, CEO of Stadio, speaking about the group’s latest Khulisa Student Share Scheme.