In October of 2019, the business section of magazine shelves were lined with magazines featuring female founders, when I saw Inc.’s Female Founders 100 issue, I had to get it – I’m always looking for new inspiration of women to interview FinanciElle.
Flipping through the pages, I saw Angela Ceresnie, CEO of Climb Credit, she and Climb Credit are creating a new way to finance vocational training that keeps learners from drowning in Debt. I’m always looking for companies taking new approaches to problems so when I heard about Angela and her company, I knew I had to feature her in one of my FinanciElle “$tatement” interviews.
Paolina: Climb Credit is all about building a better system for financing education for learners, on your site it says “The incentives of the current system are inherently unaligned, we will be a part of the move to realign the incentives of the education system to drive the interest of our learners.” How is Climb Credit doing that for learners? How do you think the incentives of the financial system, in general, can be realigned to drive the interest of everyone, especially people who have previously not had access to the system?
The current education system doesn’t align incentives evenly, in that schools don’t often have any clear benefit from the success of the learners they educate. The system is set up today where schools receive their entire tuition revenue at the time the student enrolls and starts taking courses. This leaves both the lender and the student vulnerable to the risk that the education (or the investment) did not pay off, with the school being generally insulated from this risk.
At Climb, we switch these roles, so the risk is more distributed among all the parties — including the schools. Climb only partners with institutions that show their education carries a return-on-investment for students. We want to make sure that the learners who are looking to unlock their potential by building their skills or enrolling in an alternative education program see the results. With Climb, schools do not receive their full tuition until after the student starts making payments towards the loan. This way, the school has a financial upside in their students’ success.
For many students who before did not have access to these types of programs, this adds extra security behind the investments they’re making in their future. Not only is their school a resource, but so is Climb.
Read Angela’s latest blog post on “Why We Need to Align Incentives Between Learners and Institutions in Higher Ed” to learn more.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
The hardest part is establishing with the traditional finance community how important skills training and trade schools are — it’s getting past the stigma that education which may not follow the traditional 4-year path is valuable and worthy of investment. We’ve worked hard to build a set of investors who agree with us that education should be judged based on the value it drives for the learner and nothing more.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
Don’t be scared off by the “jargon” — finance is not nearly as complicated as it sounds!
Paolina: What are your current FinanciElle Faves?
- Favourite business/leadership book? Getting things Done by David Allen; it’s an amazing guide to unlocking productivity!
- Favourite business/productivity tool? I actually rely mostly on the “notes” app provided by Apple on my phone and computer. I’ve tried a bunch of other task management tools, but this one has landed as my favorite, which is funny because it’s so feature-light!
- Favourite piece of media – TED talk, podcast…? The Knowledge Project Podcast— great interviews!!