Kenyan EdTech Startups Secure $1.2 Million Boost To Empower the Future

Twelve innovative Kenyan startups, taking a significant step toward transforming Kenya’s education landscape, have successfully secured $1.2 million (Sh183.5 million) through the Edtech Fellowship Programme—an initiative by the MasterCard Foundation and iHub. The primary objective of this substantial financial injection is to propel each startup into scaling their enterprise over three years, thereby equipping every firm with $100,000 (Sh15.4 million).

Implemented through iHub, The MasterCard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Programme leverages technology to offer learners relevant and high-quality education. This initiative aligns seamlessly with Kenya’s persistent drive to digitize its education system, providing a timely boost that addresses the evolving needs of the country’s learners.

At the Demo Day event for the first cohorts of the Fellowship Programme, Nissi Madu, Managing Partner at iHub, underscored a crucial point. The selected startups must possess innovative technology solutions that target learning challenges across diverse education levels; moreover, these firms are required to exhibit their commitment towards amplifying impact and expanding reach amongst Kenya’s vast audience of learners.

The selection process was meticulous, with the startups required to show a certain level of revenue attraction and a genuine eagerness to receive support for further expansion. The overarching goal is to enhance learning outcomes, bridging gaps from early education to workforce skills in diverse learning environments, whether formal, informal, or corporate.

MasterCard Foundation’s Lead for Strategic Partnership, Suraj Shah, optimistically projects a potential impact of the programme to reach at least 2 million learners by 2026. He underlines that this initiative extends beyond mere financial support; it prioritizes nurturing business skills in selected tech startups and refining their solutions. Additionally, incorporating the science of learning into their products is crucially important.

A strategic investment of $1.2 million funds an acceleration programme, providing startups with expert support in areas including product development, talent acquisition, distribution, and overall business scaling. The emphasis lies on tangible improvements in learning outcomes, highlighting not only the adoption of the science behind learning but also the design philosophy driving educational products.

FunKE Science, LoHo Learning, Angaza Elimu, Snapplify, Arifu, Easy Elimu, Elewa, Kidato, Ntemata, Silabu and Smart Brains Kenya—these are the startups benefiting from this initiative. This diverse range of educational technology solutions collectively contributes to the development of an EdTech ecosystem.

The MasterCard Foundation envisions an extension of this model: it plans to empower 12 tech hubs throughout Africa; within a three-year timeframe, its target is the support and growth of 250 edtech companies. By nurturing the development of innovative educational solutions—a strategy that fosters growth on multiple fronts—the ultimate objective remains clear: significantly enhancing learning outcomes across the continent.

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