Impact SA

Funding available for ventures that support preschool teachers to boost language and literacy development for 4- to 6-year-olds

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Innovation Edge has launched a call for bold solutions that aim to improve preschool teachers’ support of early literacy development for 4–6-year-olds in South Africa’s impoverished communities.

Social entrepreneurs with a proven track record of implementation within any sector are invited to respond to this call and apply for funding for their product, service or venture. The stage of the solution or venture can be anywhere on the spectrum – from feasibility to scale-up. The deadline for submissions is 15 June 2022.

Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee in September 2022. Successful social entrepreneurs will join the Innovation Edge Investee Community and receive fit-for-purpose (amount and financial instrument) funding, customised venture building support and connections to social capital.

The call follows the recent publication of South Africa’s biggest measure of early childhood, the Thrive by Five Index. The Index found that almost half (49%) of 4–5-year-olds from the poorest households, who are attending Early Learning Programmes, are not meeting the Literacy and Language standards for their age.

“These children are more likely to struggle to learn to read and write when they start school. This will not only affect their education outcomes across all subjects, but also influence their likelihood of completing secondary schooling and going on to do meaningful work,” said Nonku Nyathi, Investment Associate at Innovation Edge.

 “In order to improve the early literacy and language skills of South African pre-schoolers, we need to find effective and creative ways of training, supporting and providing resources to their teachers,” she added.

Innovation Edge, an impact-first investor, is committed to increasing their investments in early-stage ventures run by entrepreneurially minded women and teams of colour. Their impact focus is on solving early childhood challenges within impoverished communities in South Africa.

Submissions for this call are open online here. Interested applicants are encouraged to read a detailed brief on the challenge here and are also invited to attend a virtual information session on 18 May 2022 that will address any outstanding questions.


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