Heritage reaches $46.7m in education funds

Education fund experts: Gerry Swan and Charles Jeffers of Heritage Agency (Bermuda) Ltd

Heritage Education Funds International has paid out a total of $46.7 million to families in Bermuda to fund their educational needs.

The organisation, which runs savings plans aimed at helping with the costs of postsecondary education, added that it has paid out $2.88 million in Bermuda in the first nine months of this year alone.

And during the past three years, the company has paid out more than $8.8 million to families on the island in savings and Educational Assistance Payments, commonly known as “scholarships”.

HEFI, which has offered its services on the island for more than three decades, stressed that with tuition costs for postsecondary education continuing to rise at an average of 5 per cent annually, saving for education is especially important.

If this trend continues, tuition for a four-year degree programme could exceed $160,000 in ten years, depending on the programme of study and the location, HEFI estimates.

Gerry Swan, HEFI’s director of Heritage Agency (Bermuda) Ltd, said: “We recommend parents start saving for their children’s college or university education as soon as they are born.

“Using a conservative 5 per cent rate of appreciation, parents may need more than $350,000 for a child born this year, to pursue a four-year degree programme in the US.

“The Heritage Plan is designed to encourage parents to save as much as they can comfortably afford now to reduce that financial burden when the time comes.”

He said his team was working to broaden HEFI’s reach across the island.

“We want more families to be aware of the Heritage International Scholarship Trust Plan and, more importantly, we want to make our education savings plan available to more parents and grandparents allowing them the comfort of knowing that through proper planning and prudent investing, funds will be there when they need it most.”

Student participants in the Heritage Education Savings Plan, who received their third and final EAP this year, benefited from a return of 6.4 per cent per annum.

The Heritage Plan is a US-dollar denominated savings plan which has, to date, benefited thousands of students from Bermuda attending postsecondary institutions at home, in the USA, Canada, the UK and other parts of the world.

Jason Maguire, president and chief executive officer of HEFI, said: “We are very proud of these numbers as they indicate that more families in Bermuda than ever before have been using our ESP to help fund postsecondary studies for their children and grandchildren.

“Year after year, HEFI continues to reach important milestones and exceed expectations.

“This is due, in no small part, to all of the Bermudian families and friends who want a better world for their children — one where their academic success isn’t limited by the price tag on education.”


Students turn creative to raise funds for design project

Reshaping spaces: The architecture students plan to create a vertical garden under the bridge on TTK Road.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

Hold painting exhibition under TTK Road bridge

The aspiration of a group of architecture students to compete in a contest has turned the space below the bridge on TTK Road colourful.

When 20-year-old Shruti Mohan and 20 other students of Mohamed Sathak AJ Academy of Architecture wanted to participate in the annual NASA Design Competition conducted by the National Association of Students of Architecture, which requires them to effectively utilise public space, they struggled to mobilise the necessary money.

Quickly, they put together some pocket money and decided to put on a painting exhibition on Sunday under the bridge itself.

“This painting exhibition is like a fund-raiser for implementing the project of creating a vertical garden on the pillars of the bridge. We have used insulation and used tyres, made them colourful and turned them into seats. Then, we approached some artists, who promised to give us about 50% of the sale money from their paintings to us,” she said.

They have about 100 paintings of many noted artists with the price ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹3 lakh. This project, they say, will cost them ₹6 lakh.

Dhanya M, another student, said, “We have been able to raise about ₹10,000 so far. We are hopeful of getting funds somehow.”


MobiKwik in Talks to Raise Funds, Eyes $1-Billion Valuation: CEO

MobiKwik in Talks to Raise Funds, Eyes $1-Billion Valuation: CEO
Indian mobile payments and digital wallet firm MobiKwik says it is in talks to raise more funds at a level that would give the start-up a $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,698 crores) valuation, as it pushes to forge new ties with banks and offer new financial services on its platform.

The company, which has raised about $80 million (roughly Rs. 535 crores) in funding so far, will likely see a new cash infusion in the next month, or two, founder and Chief Executive Bipin Preet Singh told Reuters on Wednesday, while declining to comment on how big an equity stake the company might be offering to sell.

Asked about MobiKwik’s valuation, Singh said, “We should be touching a billion (dollars) soon … in the next one or two months.” He declined to comment on which parties MobiKwik is in talks with or how much money was being sought.

Singh said the company, which will likely break even in the middle of 2018, was at the same time not in a rush to raise funds as it remained well capitalised.

India’s decision to ban high-value currency notes late last year led to a cash crunch that hurt all sectors of the nearly $2 trillion economy, but it boosted the use of digital payments led by e-wallet operators such as MobiKwik and its larger rival Paytm.

MobiKwik now has 45 million users, Singh said.
“Some of the things that are going to happen over the next two to three months will actually lead to MobiKwik being the default payments partner for a lot of people and they already see us as a natural ally,” Singh said.

“I see a future where within the app you can avail yourself of many different financial services in addition to making payments,” he said. “Many of those will be far more profitable compared to payments alone.”

MobiKwik’s current investors include well known US technology venture capital investor Sequoia Capital, Taiwan’s MediaTek, Japan’s GMO Venture Partners and hedge fund Tree Line Asia.

The potential new fund raising could make MobiKwik India’s newest ‘unicorn’, following larger home-grown start-ups like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm and Ola that have also managed to top the $1 billion valuation mark.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Tags: MobiKwik, Mobile Payments, Digital Payments, Digital Wallet, Apps, Internet, India


World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds

World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds

World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds
Proceeds from RED products will be used for fight against AIDS
Company offering four new products as part of campaign
Users can donate directly using Apple Pay
Apple has been raising funds for the RED charity in the fight against AIDS for the past one decade. The company has continued the support this year as well as the Cupertino-based company is offering special in-app purchases in 20 of the most popular games on App Store and selling four new (RED) branded products to support the cause, starting World AIDS Day, i.e., December 1.

As a part of its support, the company is selling new RED (aka (RED)) branded products like smart battery case for iPhone 7, an iPhone SE case, Beats Solo3 wireless headphones, and Beats Pill+ portable speaker. The company is also offering other RED-branded products like cases for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Sport band, and iPod models. The purchase of every RED branded product contributes directly to The Global Fund in its fight against AIDS, the company said.

Apart from the products, the company is also offering exclusive in-app purchases, on account of World AIDS Day, specifically meant for the RED campaign. The proceeds from all the in-app purchases will go directly to The Global Fund. Some of the popular games among the total 20 taking part in this campaign are Angry Birds 2, Boom Beach, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, FarmVille: Tropic Escape, FIFA Mobile, MARVEL Contest of Champions, Plants vs. Zombies Heroes, and SimCity BuildIt. Notably, the special in-app purchases will be available for one week only.
“Through December 7, Bank of America is giving $1 per Apple Pay transaction to (RED) and the fight against AIDS – up to $1 million in total,” the company said on its campaign’s page.
Contributions will further be made for the campaign on every purchase of The Killers’ music album Don’t Waste Your Wishes. “The album features “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” their 11th single for (RED), and is available on iTunes,” the company said.

Those who are interested in donating money for the cause can do that by using Apple Pay directly at red.org as well.

The contribution to this RED campaign is used to help people affected by HIV in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia. The company says that it has raised around $120 million in the last one decade since the campaign started.

Tags: Apple (RED) Campaign, Apple (RED) Products, Apple Campaign Against AIDS, World AIDS Day, (RED), Apps, Home Entertainment, Mobiles