Czech private equity firm takes stake in JK Education

Czech private equity firm ESPIRA Investments has acquired a 50 per cent stake in the JK Education Group in order to support the education sector in Central and Eastern Europe.

JK has made a name for itself sending Czech high school students to foreign private boarding schools in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Thanks to the new partnership, JK will now have the financial means to expand its business.

The primary goal of JK Education is to prepare students for life in the 21st century by providing them with excellent foreign language skills, strengthening their interest in learning, nurturing their creativity, developing their communication and teamwork skills, as well as instilling a sense of self-reliance and responsibility.

“For ESPIRA, education is an attractive sector because it has large long-term growth potential as well as the potential to generate positive social impact,” said Emilia Mamajova, a founding partner of ESPIRA Investments.

“The private education sector in Central Europe is still underdeveloped compared to Western Europe, hence we see an opportunity to address unmet demand for private education via our partnership with JK. Once we discovered that women play a significant role in the management of JK Education group, it spurred our interest even more as supporting companies with gender diversity in leadership is an element of our investment strategy.”

With ESPIRA as a partner, JK Education will now be able to offer to a larger number of students throughout the region new opportunities for high-quality education and placement assistance to elite high schools in the US, Canada, UK and Switzerland, which are keen to attract exchange students from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

“After five years of developing the business on our own, we have come to the stage when it is advantageous to link with a strong partner to help us achieve growth on a European scale,” said Ondřej Kania, co-founder of JK.

“From many alternatives we chose to partner with ESPIRA, as we share a common philosophy in approach to business. In addition, the ESPIRA team brings strong managerial and development expertise, and they also care about the company and our mission, just like me. I look forward to our cooperation.”

“The personal story and the ambitious approach of Ondřej Kania is impressive and this was a key attraction for us to JK Education. He doesn’t know the word ‘impossible’,” added Andrea Ferancová Bartoňová, a founding partner of ESPIRA Investments.