We Invest Early In Young Lives & inventive ideas.
WHY EARLY CHILDHOOD MATTERS
The human brain is naturally wired to learn, but the brain’s capacity to absorb new information and learn new skills is most pronounced in the first 5 years of life. During this period of development, not only does the brain learn best, but it gets wired in ways that impact lifelong learning. Experiences during early childhood literally shape the architecture of the developing brain.
Eight out of 10 Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning. Six out of 10 Grade 5 learners cannot do basic maths. These scores are predictive of final school outcomes, meaning that by the age of 10 years, a child is on the educational trajectory she will most likely follow.
There is no conceivable way in which South Africa will realise its development goals, including increased employment, radical economic transformation, reduced crime and dependable leadership, without significantly altering the current trajectories of our youngest citizens.
We are an innovation catalyst and social impact investor.
- Our hands-on backing spans the journey from ideation, to proof of concept (POC), to the transition to scale for successful concepts that promise transformative impact in the lives of young children and those who care for them.
- We provide financial, strategic and active support to individuals, nonprofit and for profit organisations.
- In our first year of operations, the focus was on experimentation with sourcing ideas and development of an iterative approach to POC. By year three, we had 22 investments in South Africa and 6 successful POCs, 4 of which began transitioning to scale.
- As of end 2018 we have made a total of 42 investments, mostly in South Africa. While we continue to experiment with ideation and POC, we have begun to place greater emphasis on addressing the challenges associated with transitioning to scale.
- We are collaborative, competent, curious, grounded and are driven by a fervent desire to create meaningful change.
As an innovation catalyst and investment platform, we see our role as:
1. Connecting for innovation
- We connect people with diverse interests and expertise to contribute to the development of innovation.
- We also make connections between disparate concepts and across geographic and sectoral borders.
- Experience has shown that it is the combination of our deep understanding of social and systemic challenges combined with broad cross-sectoral engagement that sparks innovation.
2. Enabling innovation
- Our understanding of early years challenges in South Africa enables us to source, co-create and pivot inventive solutions that are relevant and scalable.
- We provide strategic, financial and hands-on support from ideation to proof of concept (POC), and actively experiment with multiple pathways to scale.
3. Communicating innovation
- We share insights on innovation products and processes to contribute to a collective understanding of what has and has not worked.
- We also actively seek opportunities to communicate the importance of positive early life experiences to influence perspective and drive behaviour change.
Our support includes
- Funding of up to R1 million (±$70k), over a period of up to 24 months
- Up to 15% of investment value for evaluation
- Consultation on customer-centric project design, implementation and impact evaluation
- Marketing and communications expertise
- Workshops and in-person meetings
- Access to our international early childhood innovation and investor networks
- Discounted access to the 2.5 day Think Future event
- Africa | South