Pictured: Benoit-Etienne Domenget – Chief Executive Officer, Sommet Education (left) & Mike Lambert – Founder and CEO, Invictus Education (right)

Sommet Education, the worldwide network of first-class higher education hospitality and culinary arts schools, is to acquire a majority stake in leading South African private education operator, Invictus Education Group, alongside its historical shareholders, the two organisations have jointly announced.

After acquiring École Ducasse in 2019, today’s announcement represents a new step forward for Sommet Education, which brings the number of its campuses from nine to 17, doubling its worldwide footprint, and growing from 6,000 to 9,000 students.

Sommet’s strategy leverages on expansion to support its growth through various types of opportunities, from acquisitions of local and regional hospitality education brands to investment in adjacent business lines or asset-light models. The signing also marks the start of a rapid expansion plan in South Africa and further pan-African developments.

Together, Sommet Education and the Invictus Education Group plan to develop additional campuses for the International Hotel School and one additional SAE Institute campus in South Africa. The first project under construction will be located in Benoni, South Africa, and is due to open in July this year.

It will be followed in 2022 by other campuses in South Africa: Nelspruit, Potchefstroom, Port Elisabeth and Pretoria. Ambitious developments are also targeted for Africa, with a first campus opening in Kenya already scheduled for 2023.

In addition to these expansion plans, the two partners are looking to implement synergies in four key areas: curriculum building and faculty expertise to support the expansion of Invictus’ Bachelor’s Degree on which Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches (part of Sommet Education) have built their reputation; further development of culinary and pastry arts portfolio of programs relying on the know-how of École Ducasse; Invictus bringing its knowledge and experience of B2B training, development and business consulting from its Summit brand; and both partners will work together and share their knowledge, experience and vision on online education programs and platforms.

“Invictus Education Group is an amazing success story in the African education landscape,” says Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education. “With a 25-year history on the continent, a diverse portfolio of hospitality education institutions, a very strong digital program portfolio, a highly experienced team and a robust management, a national footprint and strong pipeline, Invictus has the potential to further carry all our ambitions in the region and beyond.”