Education Consolidation Corporation (ECC) is a leader in providing career education in the areas of business, healthcare and information technology. The company was formed in 2010 through a partnership with Chicago-based equity firm Maxim Partners with the aim of consolidating individual private post-secondary schools across Canada into a single organization with greater reach, efficiency, and the most relevant possible course content for students.
The company operates Robertson College with campuses in Manitoba and Alberta as well as Westervelt College in Ontario. In addition to its three ground campuses, Robertson College offers a variety of programs online to allow students more flexibility than the traditional classroom delivery model.
Opportunity knocks, capital in short supply
In 2015, the company was growing through higher student acceptance rates, the development of new programs, and through a continued expansion of its online offerings. Growth prospects were tremendous but the company needed additional working capital to fully implement its plans.
ECC has a well-established relationship with its bank, which pointed to First West Capital as a good source of additional growth financing. Michael Baldwin of Maxim Partners oversaw ECC’s financing and, with a strong first impression of First West Capital, he was soon on his way from Chicago to Winnipeg for a face to face meeting with Co-Founder Kristi Miller.
Smooth dealings with impressive results
“I’ve worked on a lot of financing deals and have dealt with many highly experienced industry people and Kristi is one of the best. She is very sharp and was able to quickly understand ECC’s business, strategy and how it fit with our financing requirements,” says Baldwin. “I found Kristi to be fair and easy to talk to and the entire team at First West Capital was extremely knowledgeable and followed through with prompt, timely service.”
The deal was funded in the summer of 2015 and ECC immediately went to work. Fast forward one year and the success of these efforts is apparent — Baldwin reports gross revenue is up 12 per cent in 2016 and operating income has jumped an impressive 33 per cent.
Miller adds, “ECC has a solid foundation with its bricks and mortar campuses and the continued expansion of the company’s online offerings positions ECC well to take advantage of the huge growth opportunities in the career education field. It’s very satisfying to see the results they have achieved in just one year.”