Innovation Challenges and

Opportunity Hub.

Funding Opportunity: New call coming soon.

To address specific early childhood challenges in South Africa we create defined targeted calls for innovative solutions. View previous Innovation Challenges below and keep a lookout for our next challenge call coming soon.

Selected applicants will be supported to build their investment cases and pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee. Successful social entrepreneurs and/or organisations will receive up to R1.3 million in funding. In addition, they’ll be provided with strategic coaching, operational support and connections to social capital.

CONSIDERATION CRITERIA

  • Ventures must benefit children aged 0-6 years (this includes the prenatal period of development) in South Africa.
  • Ventures must primarily benefit children in low-income families, but may require innovative monetisation approaches outside of the target audience.
  • Ventures need to have a capable and committed co-founding team of at least 2 co-founders.
  • Ventures must be innovative in that they find an entirely new way of doing things or repurposing an existing solution in order to solve a real-world problem. We believe that in low-income contexts, sustainable innovation lives where digital access works in harmony with analogue delivery of ECD interventions.
  • Ventures must show at least preliminary traction of product-market fit. Preliminary traction may include customer appreciation of the product or service, at its most nascent level. Traction of product / service in adjacent sectors will also provide comfort.
  • Ventures must take into account future sustainability and growth beyond investment from Innovation Edge. A sustainability mindset would encompass the consideration of the venture as a going-concern, rather than an independent project.
  • Ventures must be socially and demographically conscious in the value chain of ECD delivery (i.e., there needs to be evidence of a clear intent of demographic alignment from the beneficiaries to the Board).
  • Ventures must be focused on enabling quality father-child relationships.

Recent Funding Opportunity (now closed): Call to fund social entrepreneurs and organisations with creative concepts and interventions that seek to scale the meaningful participation of fathers and father figures from the earliest years of their child’s life.

Recent Funding Opportunity (now closed): Call for innovative ventures that support preschool teachers to boost language and literacy development for 4 to 6 year olds

This was a call for bold solutions that aim to improve preschool teachers’ support of early literacy development for 4-6 year olds in South Africa’s impoverished communities.

Social entrepreneurs with a proven track record of implementation within any sector were invited to respond to this call and apply for funding for their product, service or venture. 

Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee in September 2022. Successful social entrepreneurs will join the Innovation Edge Investee Community and receive fit-for-purpose (amount and financial instrument) funding, customised venture building support and connections to social capital.

South Africa’s biggest measure of early childhood, the Thrive by Five Index, released in April 2022, found that almost half (49%) of 4-5 year olds from the poorest households did not meet the Emergent Literacy and Language standards for their age.  

These children are more likely to struggle to learn to read and write when they start school, which will not only affect their education outcomes across all subjects but also influence their likelihood of completing secondary schooling and going on to do meaningful work. The problem extends beyond formal education – language is also a fundamental part of social interaction, and therefore of socioemotional wellbeing. 

In order to improve the early literacy and language skills of South African preschoolers, we need to find effective and creative ways of training, supporting and providing resources to their teachers.  

Imagine if preschool teachers in South Africa’s low-income communities were supported and equipped to enable language and literacy development in ways that are appropriate for young children.   

Opportunity Hub.

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

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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.