Pearson Supports Education Start-Ups by Incubating Innovation
Countries around the world have made great strides in increasing the percentage of children enrolled in school. The quality of the education they receive there is the next great hurdle—fewer than half of third graders in India, for example, can read a grade-level text despite their enrollment in school. Other low- and middle-income countries show similar deficits.
Pearson, an education and publishing company, is working to improve education quality in poor countries by investing in education-focused SGBs. The Edupreneurs initiative is a joint venture between Pearson’s Affordable Learning Fund and the accelerator Village Capital. The first Edupreneurs program involves a cohort of education start-ups and small businesses chosen from a pool of applicants. The participants attend training modules in both business and education, and receive mentoring from investors and other businesspeople. At the end of the multi-month training component, the edupreneurs rank each other using set criteria, and two winners are chosen to receive up to $75,000 in capital. The first Edupreneurs program took place in India in 2013. The winners were Experifun, a start-up creator of science tools and experiment kits for teachers; and Sudiksha Knowledge, which runs pre-schools in rural India. Pearson and Village capital are continuing the program in 2014 in South Africa. In this way, Pearson is investing in SGBs and seeding education innovation exactly where it is most needed.