South African innovation catalyst and investment platform Innovation Edge has launched a call for tech solutions to problems faced by young children and those who care for them, with the most promising ideas standing the chance to receive incubation and up to ZAR1 million (US$68,000) in funding.
Innovation Edge, which invests in scalable ideas that seek to transform early life experiences for young children living in poverty, is looking for solutions that address a defined need within early childhood and have a sustainable route to scale.
The most promising ideas stand the chance to receive up to ZAR1 million (US$68,000) in funding and will have access to a range of incubation support. The deadline for submissions is October 19, with applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations all welcome.
Examples of the types of challenges that applicants are invited to respond to include the prevalence of time-consuming and inaccurate paper-based systems of recording classroom attendance, the fact young children’s developing brains thrive from having daily positive back conversations with their parents, and the regularity of women living in adversity experiencing a mental illness.
“ Eight out of 10 Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning. Six out of 10 Grade 5 learners cannot do basic maths. These scores are predictive of final school outcomes, meaning that by the age of 10 years, a child is on the educational trajectory she will most likely follow,” said Sonja Giese, executive director for Innovation Edge.
“There is no conceivable way in which South Africa will realise its development goals, including increased employment, radical economic transformation, reduced crime and dependable leadership, without significantly altering the current trajectories of our youngest citizens. This sector is desperate for innovative solutions that offer impact at scale.”