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Co-Creation Hub’s Edtech Accelerator Pledges $15M to African Startups • InNewCL

Co-Creation Hub’s Edtech Accelerator Pledges $15M to African Startups • InNewCL

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Africa’s largest innovation hub Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) is launching a $15 million accelerator program called The Edtech Fellowship Program to empower and support 72 startups in Nigeria and Kenya over the next three years Experience InNewCL.

According to a company statement, the accelerator program will support and amplify the impact of edtech startups across Africa, as well as supporting founders who offer tech solutions that address learning innovation in an education sector beset by a plethora of problems.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of out-of-school children, with approximately 98 million children excluded from education, according to this report. Even for those who attend the school, the quality of education is abysmal at all levels, from K-12 to tertiary. For example, students in computer science disciplines at most Nigerian universities are taught outdated programming languages ​​with no up-to-date real-world applications. Other problems include insufficient funding, school strikes and brain drain.

Over the years, mobile and internet penetration and access to smartphones has increased; Cell phone subscribers accounted for 46% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population, according to the GSMA Intelligence report, while smartphone adoption stood at 64% in 2021. This has enabled several edtech startups to develop digital platforms that, in some ways, have seen thousands of Africans gain better learning and work opportunities. For example, Tencent-backed uLesson, YC-backed Kidato, and LocalGlobe-backed Foondamate offer different-method learning programs for K-12 students, while Andela and GOMYCODE, among others, bring skilled tech professionals and students together with local overseas employers.

While these platforms have achieved some degree of success, they haven’t moved the needle in Africa’s multi-billion dollar edtech market. This requires more edtech solutions to be developed and supported. However, with edtech being Africa’s eighth-biggest invested sector according to this report, its startups have cut out their jobs for them. Bosun Tijani, co-founder and CEO of CcHUB, offers two theories as to why edtech growth in Africa is being stunted and why his startups are having trouble attracting investment funds. First, the edtech space is heavily regulated, more than the casual tech watcher might realize. The other is that startups rarely work with government or educational institutions and vice versa. As such, Tijani believes that launching an accelerator program with an inclusive ecosystem could herald multiple success stories and a more mature edtech industry.

“If we intentionally invest in a very structured edtech ecosystem that includes governments, teachers, investors, foundations, and in some cases even the students and their parents, we believe we can start to have a better understanding of how to.” Technology improves learning in schools,” Tijani said in an interview with InNewCL. “It’s important that when building a program, we not only find the brightest people in the startup ecosystem, but also connect the startup ecosystem with government agencies, public sectors, schools and academic institutions so we can ensure there is a clear understanding how to scale educational solutions in space.”

The grant program is aimed at startups in Nigeria and Kenya, two of the largest edtech markets on the continent. Of the 300+ startups in both markets, tutorial apps and memorization-focused platforms are among the most. However, Tijani said the accelerator program will seek to fund solutions that fall outside of that box. According to the chief executive, Africa’s $2 billion education market requires more unorthodox solutions than ever. And CcHUB, which has run several edtech initiatives (I volunteered for one of them) and has a history of supporting successful and failed edtech startups through its incubator and accelerator programs, hopes to discover such solutions that address challenges in K-12, tertiary and college address skills-to-job markets.

“Our thinking is pretty broad. We know the core will likely narrow down to a few areas based on what we see, but we’re challenging ourselves not to fund the most obvious solutions,” he noted. “We will not support just any startup; We will see these startups also drive learning outcomes.”

CcHUB intends to undertake this task with the help of an in-house research team dedicated to working with portfolio startups and testing their products from launch to scale. You will be part of a 30-strong team from multiple expert groups that CcHub will provide to select startups in both locations, including product development, government relations, pedagogy and learning science, portfolio management, communications, instructional design, and community building. By offering shared resources, these groups will be critical to how each startup conducts team building, MVP and prototyping testing, go-to-market strategies, engaging with organizations, and getting feedback from users. This value will also complement the $100,000 in initial funding that startups will have access to during the program.

“Over the next three years, we will launch 72 edtech companies. We believe this will kick start the ecosystem and restart because from that number you are at least sure about half or 20-30% of them would live another three to four years. And that will allow us to know if technology can really work for education in Africa,” Tijani noted.

Supporting so many startups in three years suggests that CcHUB’s Edtech Fellowship program will host 24 Nigerian and Kenyan startups annually (12 each). In addition, these startups will receive $100,000 in seed capital points for the accelerator to spend over $7 million on pure investments. Tijani, also CEO of iHub in Kenya, said the remaining capital will be used to manage other resources at the accelerator, including staff costs, as well as providing support capital to start-ups as they progress.

Outside of the Accelerator program, there is also a provision for follow-on investments that offer diversification and reduced risk for seed or Series A investors. According to Tijani, follow-up capital will come from a $50 million edtech fund that CcHUB plans to raise within the next 12 to 24 months; An anchor investor initially pledged $5 million, he said, adding that the innovation hub is in talks with telecom companies like Safaricom and MTN to explore deals that would make them not only investors in the fund but also distributors for edtech -Solutions could make up the portfolio of the Fellowship.

“That is also what is unique about this program. The people who support us don’t just say: “This is money, go and invest”. They really pitch in and finance us in order to be able to raise capital, which is not usual in the VC area. The way we look at our pool of co-investors is stacked. We are not only with VCs, but also with development finance institutions and telecom companies. In general, this activity that CcHub is initiating will reduce the risk of investments for many VCs out there who might want to put money into edtech startups,” said Tijani, who also added that the innovation hub would do roadshows in India and Europe, and the US in the coming months to raise the fund.

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