Most of today’s biggest brands started with humble beginnings, and no one embodies this better than Filbert Kavishe, the founder of Augustine Pre & Primary School. It all started in 2012 when Filbert was still a second-year student at the University of Dar es Salaam. He could hardly wait to complete his studies and apply his knowledge to serving his community by setting up a school. He had no capital he had no connections and he had no experience.

AML Finance (AML) had just started operations and although it has been a custom for financial institutions to start financing entrepreneurs at a success stage avoiding risks associated with a start-up at the survival stages, the story of AML and Mr Filbert Kavishe is different!

Filbert Kavishe the founder of Augustine Pre and Primary school which is located at Mbezi kwa Msuguli ward in Dar es salaam has been AML’s customer since 2012. The school has 380 pupils and 14 staff members and is expected to have 500 pupils by end of 2023.

Filbert Kavishe had a dream of owning a school before he even went to university. He grew up in the Kilimanjaro region and came to Dar es Salaam to pursue his Degree in Economics and Statistics in 2009. While most students find it difficult to cover their expenses of personal needs, food, academic purposes and transportation, Filbert managed to save his meagre allowance and started a preschool in 2012 with four kids who were children of his in-laws. At this time, he was a second-year student with no reliable source of income. He started his school in a semi-finished building at Kimara Bwaloni, Temboni Area. Being in such a challenging situation he approached AML in March 2012 to ask for a TZS 500,000/= loan to pay wages to his two staff. AML was reluctant to give him a loan given that he was still a student and had no history of running a school. However, due to his entrepreneurship strong spirit and conviction, he convinced AML and pledge a laptop as a security for the loan and AML, being in an entrepreneurship fort grasped his entrepreneurship ideas and financed him T7S 400,000/=. Filbert knew how to improve his credit score, availed himself of the opportunity, and managed to repay the loan from his student allowance within one month instead of three months.

It took him a lot of pressure to pursue his dream of establishing a school specially to gain parents' confidence and raise capital. In June 2012 he secured his second loan of TZS 500,000/= from AML for a similar purpose and arrangements and again repaid even before the maturity.

Filbert recognized that increasing pupil admission to the school was key to the school's success. He consulted several people and AML on how to focus on aligning the school goals and creating a feasible plan. As the number of students started to increase, a need for school transport emerged. Most working parents prefer their children to be picked up in the morning and returned home in the afternoon. Cognizant of this, he then continued to save his allowance and in June 2016 he borrowed TZS 1,500,000/= from AML to finance the purchase of his first school bus. This vehicle was added to his list of collaterals. As a disciplined and well-guided entrepreneur, he repaid the loan without any arrears. He went on growing the number of pupils and staff year after year despite encountering challenges including failure to meet formal school registration requirements.

At that time, for a school to be registered the minimum requirements were to have six classrooms, one store, ten toilets and three offices, which he did not have. This led to the refusal by some parents to register their children at the school worrying that they might not be allowed to sit for national examinations. Mr. Filbert continued to convince them that it would work out well and had to arrange with neighboring registered schools to ensure the pupils sat for the national examinations. He convinced the parents and the authority that he would be able to overcome these challenges given an opportunity.

Filbert continued to pursue his dreams by admitting more pupils and ensuring quality education. In 2014 he bought a plot and started building his own school and in 2015 he had his own self-built classes, offices, toilets, and a store which enabled him to get a formal school registration.

The first Augustine pre-school building - rented
The first Augustine preschool building - rented

His school kept growing year after year. In November 2019 AML financed him TZS 10,050,000/= to continue the construction of the classrooms and part of the loan was used to purchase a photocopier. He pledged school buildings as collateral for the loan. Once again, he repaid the loan without any arrears.

With the free basic education policy in Tanzania, the public school system was experiencing significant pressure and at the same time competition between public schools and private schools got stiffed.  He went on improving the school’s buildings and compounds using both loans and savings generated from school fees. By February 2020 he was able to access yet another loan of TZS 25,000,000/= from AML to finance the purchase of school desks and chairs, buying a water tank, roofing classes and part of it as working capital to pay salaries.

Given the historical background with AML, Filbert can now get a loan from AML just by a press of a button. In March 2021 Mr. Filbert took a loan of TZS 25,000,000/= from AML to finalize payments of his second school bus and buy additional land for school use and part of the funds was used to do renovations. Again, in February 2022, Mr. Filbert took TZS. 20,000,000/= loan from AML to build a road pavement to the school for easy access during rainy seasons.

A picture of Augustine’s pupils and newly built classrooms
A picture of Augustine’s pupils and newly built classrooms

Mr. Filbert’s inspirational entrepreneurship journey is a real example of how AML lives its vision of becoming the “most reliable and accessible financial institution for SMEs”. Filbert’s financial needs were met as and when needed. AML also offered him financial education in terms of how much to borrow and how to use the loans appropriately to ensure his dream becomes a reality without too heavy financial burdens. He was also given the option of paying the loan only when the school terms begin, the time when he collects school fees.

Financing schools has been quite a journey for AML over the last ten years. AML has an outstanding loan book of TZS 3.9lb with school, which is 33% of its total portfolio not only intending to get returns but also improve the quality of education and lives. Some of the schools got unsecured loans and they paid well like Mr. Kavishe. Most Schools have benefited greatly from this facility and they have been loyal to AML. We are committed to continuing to finance schools and this year we are extending our service to Schools in Morogoro and Dodoma to create more and more stories like this of Filbert of Augustine Pre and Primary School.