I&P, Mastercard Foundation to help African ed-tech startups bounce back from COVID-19

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VC firm Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) has partnered the Mastercard Foundation to support businesses in the education sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The partnership creates a US$10.5 million three-year programme that will accelerate 30 education entrepreneurs Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal by addressing key challenges related to access, quality, and relevance faced within the sector.

These include funding for education businesses in recovery phase seeking to adapt and expand, skills development through technical assistance to accelerate SMEs’ digital transformation, education opportunities through innovative social inclusion mechanisms, and data and advocacy through robust impact management systems and policy dialogue.

Startups and SMEs will be selected based on their capacity to offer quality education and training, while promoting employability and youth empowerment within their countries of operations.

“As a pioneering impact investment group, we have witnessed the gap between the available skills of young women and men and the needs of the job market. While African governments have limited means to solve these problems, the private sector is increasingly perceived as a possible complementary player that could boost access to, and the quality and relevance of education,” said Emilie Debled, executive director for strategic developments and partnerships at I&P. 

By accelerating the work of edupreneurs and SMEs in the education space, the programme aims to impact 95,000 beneficiaries, including students, trainees, and ed-tech platform users served by these businesses, out of which 55 per cent will be women and 33 per cent disadvantaged youth.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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