Application Deadline:: 31 October 2021

A call for innovative educational technology (edtech) solutions that will result in quality home or centre-based learning opportunities for children ages 0 to 6 living in South Africa.

Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee at a Zoom meeting in March 2021. Successful ventures will each receive up to R1.3 million in funding, strategic coaching, customised venture building support and connections to social capital.

Edtech and early childhood development (ECD) has the opportunity to leapfrog a child’s progress in education and unlock their full potential.

Everyday interactions between parents and their children present the perfect opportunities to build and strengthen a child’s ability to learn. Early language and literacy skills are developed through everyday moments – telling stories, reading books, having back and forth conversations (even before a child can speak) and playing together.

Many parents assume that learning begins when school does. They are not aware of the simple, but powerful learning opportunities that lie in their everyday interactions with their young child. Research has also found that low-income families have very little time available for these activities, and possess few resources such as children’s books or toys. Early learning interventions need to include well designed and contextually appropriate solutions to encourage responsive and interactive parenting.

In addition, many early childhood programmes often lack the resources and support they need to provide an accessible, quality and contextually relevant learning environment for children. We also know that the presence of a range of different learning materials in the classroom, as well as mentored and motivated practioners, leads to better child outcomes.

As access to technology grows rapidly throughout South Africa, edtech provides an opportunity to help leapfrog (harness innovation to rapidly accelerate progress) a child’s development in education – both at home and in centre-based learning programmes.


The following criteria must be met to be eligible for consideration:

  • Ventures must be at the stage of either feasibility testing; or prototyping and market testing; or transitioning to scale. We do not accept ventures in the ideation phase.
  • Ventures must be innovative in that they find an entirely new way of doing things or repurpose an existing solution in order to solve an evidence-based problem.
  • The venture needs to have a capable and committed lead person, who is able to benefit from coaching.
  • The venture must, directly or indirectly, benefit children aged 0-6 years (this includes the period of development during pregnancy) in South Africa.
  • It must not exclude children in low-income families but can include children in middle/high-income families.
  • Ventures must be characterised by a high potential for creating a positive social impact on educational/developmental outcomes – likely with a specific mission to improve accessibility, quality and/or contextual relevance of education

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Innovation Edge Innovation Challenge 2021

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