Opportunity Hub.

While we welcome submissions for  bold ideas at any time throughout the year, this space is focused on calling for solutions to very specific early childhood challenges.

Our next call for specific proposals will take place in the first quarter of 2019, so watch this space!

Go here to submit an idea as part of our all-year-round open call or take a look below at the last round of early childhood challenges we highlighted.

Paper-based systems of recording classroom attendance are time-consuming and lacking in accuracy.

How might you create a tech solution that enables pre-school teachers (in both high/mid and low income environments) to quickly capture verifiable classroom attendance for children aged 3 to 6 years?

Young children’s (birth to 6) brains thrive from having daily positive back and forth conversations with their parents.

Read about how parent-child interactions shape the architecture of the developing brain.

How might you create a tech solution to help parents (in both high/mid and low income environments) embed this behaviour into their daily lives?

Approximately 33% of women living in adversity will experience a mental illness (primarily depression) during or after pregnancy.

Gain insight and empathy through these stories of mothers who have suffered from depression.

What opportunities could tech offer to support mothers, particularly those in low-income environments, who are suffering from depression?

Surprise Us!

How might tech provide a solution to an early childhood problem you are aware of?

Things you might like to know.

For every one of us, the quality of our early life experiences laid the foundations for who we are today.

Innovation Edge is an early stage investor and venture builder with a mission.

We help entrepreneurs and innovators bring to life solutions for the problems faced by young children and those who care for them.

In addition to funding, our support includes:

  • Consultation on program design, implementation and evaluation
  • Mentorship and coaching
  • Workshops and in-person meetings
  • Access to our early childhood innovation network
  • Insights into the early childhood landscape in South Africa
  • Discounted access to the 2.5 day Think Future event
Evaluation Criteria
A successful submission will meet the following criteria:

  • The beneficiaries are children between the ages of 0 and 6 (this includes the period of development during pregnancy) in under-resourced South African communities
  • The idea convincingly demonstrates how the solution to the challenge will be reached, sustained and scaled without compromising quality
  • It’s SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and proof of concept can be executed within 2 years​
  • It’s innovative in that it finds an entirely new way of doing things or re-purposes an existing solution in order to solve the challenge
  • It has an enthusiastic and skilled person/team behind it

Innovations submitted for funding may be at any stage in their development journey. We do not, however, fund the actual scaling of the product.

We do aim to link products ready to scale to funders who may be able to help.

Spark Bank.

We are continuously searching for ideas that have the potential to positively transform the early life experiences of young children living in poverty.

Sometimes when promising ideas emerge, we don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle to act. In order to hold onto these ideas, we’ve created the Spark Bank.

Have a look at the ideas below and see if any of them resonate with you. Perhaps your thinking could complete the puzzle.

Biometric verification for children

There are a number of existing solutions providing biometric verification through facial recognition software…for adults. We’re in search of biometric verification solutions for children aged 3 to 5, who attend early learning centres in impoverished communities.

Possible?

Turning waiting spaces into engaging places

What if spaces, particularly where parents and other caregivers have to wait for long periods of time with their children, could be transformed into places that sparked engagement?

Regular, positive interactions between caregiver and child lay the foundation in the child’s developing brain for lifelong literacy, numeracy and self-control.

Do YOU have an idea of how waiting spaces could be sustainably transformed or created to be engaging places?

Supporting young moms

The last Recorded Live Births report produced by Statistics South Africa showed that out of the 969 415 birth recorded in 2016, 136 996 were born to mothers below the age of 20.

All mothers, no matter where they’re from or what their age, need support with ways to engage with and help build their childs’ developing brain and body during the earliest years.

While there are a number of initiatives for older mothers, we’d like to explore the possibility of funding an innovative and scalable parenting support initiative particularly for mothers under the age of 20.

Perhaps you’re a young mom with an uncoventional solution on how to do this; or an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a burning idea – we would LOVE to hear from you!

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