3 African startups compete at Global Edtech Startup Awards


Three African startups were among 18 finalists to pitch at the Global Edtech Startup (GES) Awards in London in January, with Kenya’s M-Shule named first runner up in the international event.

Launched in 2014, the GES Awards see startups from around the world compete to be crowned the “Most Promising EdTech Startup” of the year.  

This year, over 2,000 startups applied to the competition; with selected companies participating in regional pitch events in order to progress to the global finals held in London.

The overall winner of the competition was Japanese startup Arcterus; with Kenya’s M-Shule taking second place, and Indian company Mentor Mind placing third.

M-Shule combines artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver personalised educational content to primary school students via SMS.

“It was really exciting to participate in the event and see how edtech companies from all over the world are solving challenges and pushing innovation in their markets,” Claire Mongeau, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of M-Shule.

“While many of our competitors are building very cool high-tech solutions, our goal is to make personalized learning accessible on the most basic phone. Therefore it was a huge honour to have our work recognized by the international community as something that can help accelerate learning in Sub-Saharan Africa. We hope to use this opportunity to build even more ways to bridge the gap and deliver best learning to our students.”

In addition to M-Shule, South African company Paper Video also made the finals, with its maths and science educational videos delivered via app or offline microSD card.  

Nigerian startup Lizzie’s Creations made up the list of African finalists, with its African language learning app Teseem and local folktale telling app, AfroTalez.

“It was an honour to be part of the 19 edtech startups from 10 different countries that made the international finals in London, particularly given that this was the first year that startups from Africa were invited to compete in the initial rounds of the competition,” says Paul Maree, co-founder at Paper Video.

“It’s always refreshing and inspiring to see how different entrepreneurs from different countries are facing challenges in the edtech space. Being involved in a startup can sometimes mean that your shoulder is so firmly pressed to the grindstone that you sometimes forget to look around and take stock of the other interesting innovations that are being developed in the space that you’re involved in.”



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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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