Grant funding available for innovative edtech solutions

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South African innovation catalyst and investment platform Innovation Edge is calling on early-stage entrepreneurs and start-ups with innovative edtech ventures to apply for its Innovation Challenge grant funding.

Innovation Edge is an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in SA. It seeks to fund and support edtech ventures that will help parents and/or teachers give children solid early learning foundations.

The organisation is calling for applications from entrepreneurs or start-ups with innovative edtech ventures focused on supporting early learning for children under the age of six years.

The application process runs until 31 October.

“We may not have enough resources in our homes, or in our early learning programmes, but what we do have in SA, is a high proliferation of mobile phones,” says Nicole Biondi, head of marketing and communications at Innovation Edge.

“Edtech solutions offer an unmissable opportunity to support parents and teachers in providing young children with critical early learning skills. The educational foundations built during the first six years of a child’s life determine the success of all future learning inputs. If we want children to thrive at school and beyond, we need to be doing our utmost to make sure their ability to learn is being built right from the start of life.”

Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee. Successful ventures will receive up to R1.3 million each in grant funding, strategic coaching, customised operational support and connections to social capital.

According to Innovation Edge, a child’s participation in an early learning programme and home environment influence their developmental level prior to entering school.

When it comes to early learning programmes or preschool centres, learning materials are the brick and mortar of a teacher’s lesson, and in SA, evidence shows there is a problem with the quantity and quality of materials, notes the organisation.

According to Statistics SA’s General Household Survey,35% of respondents said they never told stories to their young children and 47% never read books to them.

Applicants must be at the stage of either feasibility testing, or prototyping and market testing, or transitioning to scale. Ventures in the ideation phase will not be accepted.

For more information on the criteria for entry and how to apply, visit the Innovation Edge website.

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