South Africa is facing an education crisis of massive proportions. The matric pass rate is dangerously low, only 6% of adults aged 25-34 have benefitted from tertiary education, nearly half of in-service teachers are set to retire before 2030, and the country faces an alarmingly high unemployment rate disproportionately affecting youths who have been let down by the system. There is an urgent need for action.
Enter Injini, a non-profit organisation with the mission to improve the quality, accessibility and relevance of education across sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, Injini is on the search for innovative EdTech startups to apply for their latest program – this time focused on impacting education in South Africa. This initiative, known as the Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Program, will provide eligible startups with direct grant funding, product quality evaluation and certification, intensive skills development, coaching and mentorship, bespoke market research and market access through Injini’s network of stakeholders across the education innovation landscape.
“We recognise the need for collaboration when tackling the challenges associated with the state of education across the region, so we’re delighted to partner with the Mastercard Foundation on this exciting new program,” says Krista Davidson, Executive Director of Injini. “Through Injini’s edition of this program, we intend to bolster the South African EdTech ecosystem with additional resources, bring awareness to key stakeholders in the education innovation landscape and ultimately reach more learners and teachers with effective learning and teaching support”.
Applications for Injini’s Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Program are officially open and EdTech companies that have demonstrated traction in the market and can commit to impacting the South African market for the duration of the program are invited to apply.
The program is valued at over R2.5 million per participating company, with specific benefits including:
R1,000,000 in equity-free venture funding
Hands-on specialist support in education innovation, fundraising, and impact M&E
Pedagogical evaluation and certification by EdTech Impact and Education Alliance Finland
Bespoke market research support by the Injini Think Tank
“Sponsored skills” to fill identified gaps in each team
Exposure to new markets, including travel and speaking opportunities at ecosystem events
Personalised coaching on applied learning science, learning engineering, and AI in education from faculty members of Carnegie Mellon University
The opportunity to contribute to a growing body of evidence documenting “what works” in African EdTech
“At the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, we firmly believe that technology has the potential to revolutionize education and skills development for young Africans. Our partnership with Injini is a powerful step towards enriching the EdTech landscape in South Africa and propelling the growth of exceptional EdTech companies,” says Joseph Nsengimana, Director of The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Mastercard Foundation.
Founded in 2017 by the UVU Africa Group, Injini has a track record of assisting over 4,000 African EdTech innovators through its programming to date. With the ever-increasing need for effective solutions to South Africa’s education challenges, there is no better time to support businesses with the potential to make an outsized impact in this space.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the final deadline on 19 March 2023. EdTech founders and leaders can learn more about the program and key dates here.
Davidson concludes: “We look forward to kicking off this program with some of the top minds in the ecosystem, aligned in our intention to create a brighter future for all South Africans.”