Educational technology start-up businesses can apply here for funding

Innovation catalyst and investment platform, Innovation Edge, is calling for funding applications from early-stage entrepreneurs and start-ups with innovative educational technology ventures that support early learning for children under six years.

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

A 2020 study found that over half of all parents interviewed had between one and five children’s books in their home, while 40% said that they had none.

These results were mirrored in the Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey, which indicated that 35% of respondents reported that they never told stories to their young children and 47% never read books to them.

Nicole Biondi, Head of Marketing and Communications for Innovation Edge, said: “We may not have enough resources in our homes or in our early learning programmes, but what we do have in South Africa is a high proliferation of mobile phones. 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 determines 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.”

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Biondi stressed the importance of early childhood development, which includes children getting into early learning programmes or preschool centres.

“Evidence shows that what benefits children the most in early learning environments is positive teacher-child interactions and stimulating content, which facilitates these interactions. In South Africa, there is a problem with both the quantity and quality of materials,” she said.

Applications from entrepreneurs or start-ups with innovative edtech ventures opened on 1 October and will close on 31 October.

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.

For more information, sign up for the virtual briefing session on Thursday, 14 October at 2.30 pm and visit the Innovation Edge website to submit an application.

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