Innovation Edge is an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa.
We support mission-aligned entrepreneurs and social innovators by de-risking early stage product and service development. We ignite the ecosystem around them; and provide multiple rounds of funding, bespoke strategic coaching, operational support and connections to social capital.
We prioritise innovative solutions that not only aim to make an impact, but also have the ability to sustain themselves beyond the period of our support.
We’re always on the lookout for courageous people with creative concepts for solving early childhood challenges
Our entrepreneur-friendly approach, flexible funding and hands-on non-financial support that is customised to suit the stage of each solution sets us apart from other investors.
Our work also focuses on igniting greater innovation and entrepreneurship in the early childhood ecosystem
Our impact Areas.
More than 6 out of 10 children in South Africa are at risk of never reaching their full potential.
Over 60% of South Africa’s children live in poverty. Challenging life experiences during their first six years, compounded by systemic failure, reduce their possibility of present-day and future well-being. Our investments aim to improve the chances of children’s life-long success by influencing the quality of their first six years of life. We take a holistic approach to solving the issues in early childhood development by empowering innovation in four impact areas.
We strive for impact in 4 areas:
Early Learning in the Home
A child who has daily brain-building interactions right from birth develops strong learning foundations
Quality Early Learning Programmes
A child who attends a quality early learning programme for at least 2 years is more likely to start school on track
Early Health and Well-being
A child who receives nourishing food and good healthcare is able to grow to their full potential
Early Security and Safety
A child who feels safe and is protected from toxic levels of stress is free to thrive
R1 Million invested, R2.2 Million is leveraged
A social enterprise building a network of high-quality Early Childhood Care and Education (‘educare’) centres across the socioeconomic spectrum in South Africa.
An interactive ‘Where’s Wally’ inspired game. It uses a Facebook Messenger chatbot and pictures to facilitate fun brain-building interactions between parents and children.
The Early Learning Outcomes Measure (ELOM) is a South African population based child assessment tool that determines whether children are developmentally on track for their age and whether an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme is effective in preparing children for entry into school, and identifies areas for programmatic improvement.
Pivoting Business Processes for Purpose with Barrows
Barrows is a design and manufacturing company that produces display units for retailers all over South Africa. In February 2017, Innovation Edge and Barrows set out to explore this question: Could excess business inventory be used to print early learning materials and distribute them to under-resourced communities throughout South Africa?
Latest insights and stories.
In his 2024 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa stated, "Over the next five years, we will direct our efforts towards expanding access to early childhood development (ECD) and enhancing early grade reading…". The President has also previously...
Social entrepreneurs have become increasingly prominent and crucial to the sustainable construct of our societies and under-resourced communities. They play a catalytic role in driving inclusive and sustainable economic development across the continent. Various...
Continuous high levels of stress, also known as toxic stress, is one of the leading contributors of many mental disorders among South Africans. This is especially detrimental for pregnant women and caregivers of young children, as it is significantly harmful to the...