Innovation Edge is an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa.

We help mission-aligned entrepreneurs and organisations by de-risking early stage product and service development. We ignite the ecosystem around them; and provide multiple rounds of funding, strategic coaching, operational support and connections to social capital.


We’re always on the lookout for courageous people with creative concepts for solving early childhood challenges


Our flexible funding and hands-on non-financial support is customised to suit the stage of the solution


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 strive for impact in 4 areas:

Daily Brain-Building Interactions

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 Care and Nutrition

A child who receives nourishing food and good healthcare is able to grow to their full potential

Safety and Protection

A child who feels safe and is protected from toxic levels of stress is free to thrive






R33 Million


R1 Million invested, R2.2 Million is leveraged



Featured investments.

Earlybird Educare@Work

A social enterprise building a network of high-quality Early Childhood Care and Education (‘educare’) centres across the socioeconomic spectrum in South Africa.

Finding Thabo

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?

Insights and resources.

The Year for Early Learning and Childcare: Covid-19 Insights

The Year for Early Learning and Childcare: Covid-19 Insights

This article was originally published by Keya Lamba from the Early Insights team. This is an introduction of a four article series in early learning and childcare post-Covid-19. In late 2020 Innovation Edge shared their COVID-19 learnings with the Early Insights team....

WhatsApp Business app | A game-changer for small organisations

WhatsApp Business app | A game-changer for small organisations

With over 38 million South African users and 1.8 billion global users, WhatsApp has become the go-to platform to reach and connect with any audience. The app is used by 90% of internet users within SA and works on both smartphones and feature phones, making it...

Up to 30,000 ECD operators could close as a result of Covid-19

Up to 30,000 ECD operators could close as a result of Covid-19

Two weeks ago, ilifa Labantwana asked ECD operators to participate in a survey to understand the impact of the lockdown on their operations and future sustainability. The response was overwhelming with close to 8500 responses, 65% of them coming in the first four...