Open Call for funding and venture building support.

The Open Call is our standard application portal that is separate from innovation challenges and campaigns.

We accept applications from social entrepreneurs, registered non-profits and for profit enterprises. To be considered, your venture needs to be at the stage of feasibility; proof of concept or moving towards scale; in solving an early childhood challenge

Selected investment applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee. Successful social entrepreneurs or organisations will receive up to R1.3 million in funding.

In addition, they’ll also be provided with strategic coaching, operational support and connections to social capital. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2022.

You may want to know…

Before completing any application for funding, you might find it helpful to take a look at the questions you’ll be asked HERE.

You can find out more about our investment process HERE.

Investment criteria for the Open Call
  • The venture must primarily benefit children 0 to 6 years old in low-income families
  • The applicant must have a capable and committed co-founding team of at least 2 co-founders.
  • The venture must be innovative in that they find a new way of doing things, use an existing solution for a different purpose, or extend an existing solution to a different target audience in order to solve the problem.
  • The venture must have evidenced early traction either in the early childhood sector or a similar adjacent sector.
  • The venture must be in a position to demonstrate future sustainability and growth beyond investment from Innovation Edge.
What characteristics does Innovation Edge look for in investees?

We believe that innovative solutions to early childhood challenges can come from anyone, anywhere.

Investees might be seasoned or beginner entrepreneurs. They might be launching or leading a startup. They might be employed in a business or non-profit and see the opportunity for their organisation to develop or grow an innovative product or service. They might be situated in an innovation lab in an academic institution. They might even be a student fresh out of a learning institution.

  • We look for mission-aligned investees who are:
  • Highly motivated, capable and determined
  • Collaborative and accountable
  • Open to coaching and have a growth mindset
  • Able to think creatively and be adaptable
Who or what does Innovation Edge NOT fund?
  • We do not currently fund ventures outside of South Africa
  • We’re unable to support ventures that are not sustainable post Innovation Edge funding
  • We will not invest in ventures that do not directly or indirectly impact the lives of children between the ages of 0 – 6 (this period includes pregnancy)
Does Innovation Edge invest in for-profit and non-profit ventures?

Yes. Our financial support (amount and instrument) is fit for purpose, tailored to the needs and profile of both for-profit and non-profit ventures. Our return expectations are driven by our impact-first approach. This means that we will make investments in impactful ventures that do not generate a financial return; that require a below-market financial return; and/or where returns are as yet unproven.

What non-financial support do investees receive?

We have a learning mindset with a high tolerance for trial and error. Our customised venture support is both pragmatic and strategic and includes access to a team of experts to help you:

  • Understand and navigate the early childhood development ecosystem
  • Test your assumptions and validate your solution in an iterative way
  • Build and test prototypes
  • Design strategies for customer acquisition, engagement and retention
  • Plan for sustainability and scale, including building a fit-for-purpose business model and team
  • Demonstrate social and financial return potential
  • Define and articulate your value proposition
  • Connect to potential follow-on funders

Opportunity Hub.

Here we consolidate and share a range of opportunities from like minded organisations.

Free Online Courses

Upskill yourself in anything from social entrepreneurship to impact measurement with these free Acumen Academy online courses.

Funding Opportunities

Employment Opportunities

Find short and long-term employment opportunities within Innovation Edge and our networks.

 Click here for NGOPulse Vacancies.

ECD Resources

Access the latest reports and insights from the early childhood sector.

Download the 2020 South African Child Gauge here.

Read the 2019 South African Early Childhood Review here.