Baird Capital backs education in China

The private equity firm will offer financial support to educational sector professional Peter Winn and his management team to build a children’s education programme in China.

The China growth equity arm of Baird Capital has said it has made a “meaningful financial commitment” to a management team to build a platform for children’s education, summer programmes and after-school activities in China, according to a company statement. The firm did not disclose financial details. 

The management team is led by education sector veteran Peter Winn, who served as president of language school operator English First Professional’s China-based operations. He is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, and has over 15 years’ experience in Greater China, according to the statement. 

Baird and Winn’s team will together look for acquisition, partnership and organic growth opportunities in children’s early education and after-school activities sectors.

“Baird has a strong franchise in education and the opportunities in China’s education market are huge,” Brett Tucker, partner in Baird’s China growth equity team, said in the statement. 

Our goal is to offer market-leading educational services to help children build character, develop confidence and maximise their potential.

Peter Winn, former president of English First in China

Winn added, “Parents are deeply invested in their children’s futures and know that education is the fundamental foundation of success. Our goal is to offer market-leading educational services to help children build character, develop confidence and maximise their potential.”

Education in China has attracted interest from Western private equity investors. Notably in April, founder of global buyout firm The Blackstone Group, Steven Schwarzman, anchored a $300 million China endowment with a $100 million seed investment. 

Based on the Rhodes Scholarship, “Schwarzman Scholars” will support 200 students annually for a one-year master’s degree programme at Tsinghua University in Beijing under the direction of dean David Daokui Li, a Chinese economist and former member of China’s currency board. The initiative attracted an impressive roster of financial, foreign policy and higher education gurus to its advisory board, including Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Henry Paulson, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Christine Lagard.