Apply for funding and venture building support.
We provide social entrepreneurs and enterprises with early stage funding, strategic coaching, operational support and useful connections.
We accept applications for ventures that are at the stage of feasibility and development, prototyping and market testing, or transitioning to scale.
Find out more about our investment criteria and the support we offer below.
Current Innovation Challenge: Call for innovative solutions that will result in quality father-child relationships with a focus on the early years (0 to 6.)
You are also welcome to apply to our year-round open call for solutions.
Understand our Investment Criteria.
Applications must be aligned to one or more of our focus areas
Directly or indirectly, the venture must benefit children aged 0-6 years (this includes the period of development during pregnancy) in South Africa.
It must benefit children in low-income families, but does not have to exclusively target them.
The venture needs to have a capable and committed lead person, who is able to benefit from coaching.
We accept applications from individual innovators, registered non-profit and for profit enterprises.
Ventures must be innovative in that they find an entirely new way of doing things or repurpose an existing solution in order to solve a real-world problem.
We’re looking for SMART ventures (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, with proof of concept executed within 2 years ) that have been designed to scale.
You may want to know…
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