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


2 242




R46 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?

Latest insights and stories.

7 Ways We Invest to Impact Young Children

7 Ways We Invest to Impact Young Children

At Innovation Edge, our commitment to creating lasting impact in the lives of young children is the driving force behind our investment strategies. We believe in leveraging both philanthropic and commercial investment approaches to support a wide range of innovative...

Upskilling ECD Practitioners Through Instill’s EduMentor Programme

Upskilling ECD Practitioners Through Instill’s EduMentor Programme

Every young child deserves the opportunity to access quality early learning programmes, as these early life experiences lay the foundation for their future success. In South Africa, numerous challenges hinder young children from receiving high-quality learning. Among...

IE’s Hackathon – Win a Grant for Your Innovative Solution

IE’s Hackathon – Win a Grant for Your Innovative Solution

Look out for the upcoming Hackathon where entrepreneurs and social innovators will compete for a prize and strategic support for their innovative idea to solve an early childhood challenge. What is the ECD Hackathon about? The ECD Hackathon will bring together...

Financial partners.