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Up To R1 Million In Funding For Tech Solutions To Early Childhood Challenges

Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.

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Innovation Edge, an early stage investor and venture builder, has launched a call for tech solutions to problems faced by young children and those who care for them. The most promising ideas stand the chance to receive up to R1 million in funding and will have access to a range of incubation support. Qualifying ideas will address a defined need within early childhood and have a sustainable route to scale that includes families living in poverty.

Deadline for submissions is 19 October 2018.

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.

Sonja Giese, Executive Director for Innovation Edge, explains why investing in solutions to early childhood problems is critical; “ 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. This sector is desperate for innovative solutions that offer impact at scale.”

Related: The Truth About Venture Capital Funding

While Innovation Edge welcomes submissions for any bold ideas at any time throughout the year, this call is specifically focused on tech solutions to early childhood challenges.

Examples of the types of challenges that applicants are invited to respond to include the following :

  1. Paper-based systems of recording classroom attendance are time-consuming and lacking in accuracy. How might you create a tech solution that enables pre-school teachers (in both high/mid and low income environments) to quickly capture verifiable classroom attendance for children aged 3 to 6 years?
  2. Young children’s (birth to 6) developing brains thrive from having daily positive back and forth conversations with their parents. How might you create a tech solution to help parents (in both high/mid and low income environments) embed this behaviour into their daily lives?
  3. Approximately 33% of women living in adversity will experience a mental illness (primarily depression) during or after pregnancy.  What opportunities could tech offer to support mothers, particularly those in low-income environments, who are suffering from depression?

Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.

To submit a proposed solution and for more information on Innovation Edge visit http://innovationedge.org.za/opportunity-hub/.

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Amaphiko Academy Calls For Innovative Change Makers

Applications must be submitted by 6PM on 30 November 2018. Only South African citizens or residents will be considered.

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The world is constantly experiencing a myriad social problems and is thus always in need of strong innovators to bring about changes and fresh solutions.  Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is searching for new, innovative social change makers for 2019. Applications to be part of the Amaphiko Academy will be open between 01 October and 31 November 2018.

The Academy gives a platform to entrepreneurs who use their skills, talents and energy to solve social problems. The Red Bull Amaphiko program gives a platform to innovators who are transforming their communities through sustainable, socially-minded, grassroots solutions to make a bigger impact.

The Academy, which was launched in South Africa in 2014, has been home to over 50 participants over the past five years.  It has expanded to another 20 countries around the world. 2019 Will see four Red Bull Amaphiko Academies launch worldwide. The Academy inspires and enables social entrepreneurs to make a difference by giving them access to networks, information, skills, opportunities and exposure.

“Exposure to a broader international network of Amaphiko SEs and various specialists opened endless opportunities and gave me the most memorable lessons in my journey as an entrepreneur. By exposing me to a larger social network, Red Bull challenged me to expand my vision. Through it all I learnt that the calling to be a change maker fulfils more than just the financial goal. It is for the greater good of humanity.” Says Murendeni Mapfumo, Kusini Water co-founder and 2017 Red Bull Amaphiko graduate.

Related: Learning Innovation Africa To Showcase How Our Continent’s Learning Is Being ‘Uber’ed

The Academy, which takes 16 Social Entrepreneurs per cycle, starts with a ten-day residency program. It is then followed by 18 months of mentorship, coaching and expert guidance, helping entrepreneurs develop their enterprises and business acumen.

South Africa’s 2019 Red Bull Amaphiko Academy will take place in Durban between 16 and 26 May. Durban is one of South Africa’s biggest cities, and a hotbed of innovation and talent. Red Bull Amaphiko is looking for innovative, inspiring people to be part of this wonderful journey.

If you fancy yourself to be a creative social entrepreneur with a strong innovative edge, please log onto https://www.redbull.com/za-en/events/Amaphiko-Academy-Applications-2019/Red-Bull-Amaphiko-2019-Apply-NOW

Applications must be submitted by 6PM on 30 November 2018. Only South African citizens or residents will be considered.

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Entrepreneur Today

The Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment Program Is Officially Open To Applicants

The MCBI program, with its highly competitive pricing structure, will appeal to those who are not necessarily looking to relocate but who would like to secure a ‘plan B’ or expanded traveling access for themselves and their families.

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The Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) program — the latest and most exciting new investment migration opportunity in Europe — has been officially launched and is now accepting applications. Henley & Partners, global leaders in residence and citizenship planning – in partnership with its consortium partner, the Moldovan Investment Company – are assisting the Government of the Republic of Moldova in designing, implementing, and internationally promoting the much-anticipated MCBI program.

Amanda Smit, Director, Head of Henley & Partners Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, says of the Moldova program: “The launch of this prestigious new European program is momentous in the investment migration community as it boosts the industry’s relevance and value. The MCBI program offers investors a foothold in Europe and access to one of the fastest growing commercial hubs in the region, while also giving Moldova the chance to attract much-needed foreign direct investment and a set of highly qualified and carefully vetted new citizens.”

His Excellency Chiril Gaburici, the Minister of Economy and Infrastructure for the Government of Moldova, provides insight into the program’s origins: “The MCBI program has been specifically developed with the Moldovan people in mind. Our country has come a very long way over the past few years, and many of our most important industries are today thriving and growing. Now, in order to take the next step forward in our economic development, and also support the social wellbeing of all Moldovans, we need to welcome innovative new ways of generating capital. The MCBI program is part of this future-focused approach.”

Related: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

The MCBI program requires applicants to make a defined economic contribution to the country through its Public Investment Fund. In exchange, and subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process, applicants and their families are granted full citizenship rights that are transferrable without restrictions to future generations. They also gain a passport that facilitates travel access to 122 destinations around the world, including Russia, Turkey, and the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area.

The Moldovan passport is in fact one of the highest historical climbers on the Henley Passport Index, having ascended an impressive 20 places since 2008. The Moldovan Government is working hard to continue this upward trend and has already signed several visa-waiver agreements with foreign countries this year, further boosting the power of the Moldovan passport.

Smit elaborates on the program offering: “The attractiveness of the MCBI program lies in the country’s unique geographic position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and its robust passport strength, combined with the genuine affordability and accessibility of the program. Moldova is a high-growth, high-potential European country, with strong economic and diplomatic ties with the EU, and many individuals around the world want to be part of its current and future successes. Certainly, Henley & Partners is proud to be a partner to this remarkable nation, whose citizenship-by-investment program is set to redefine the European investment migration landscape.”

Henley & Partners has recently recorded an upsurge of 229% year-on-year in South Africans applying for alternative citizenship, mostly looking into European states such as Malta and Cyprus. South Africa is currently ranked 52nd on the Henley Passport Index, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 102 destinations. This marked increase in applications can be attributed to a growing recognition of the need for global mobility. The MCBI program, with its highly competitive pricing structure, will appeal to those who are not necessarily looking to relocate but who would like to secure a ‘plan B’ or expanded traveling access for themselves and their families.

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Entrepreneur Today

Engen Learn Programme Provides Critical Life-skills

The Engen Learn programme has receive numerous national awards, including an award from Apple for innovation, the Future of HR Best Learning and Development Strategy award in 2017, and a Directors Best Choice nomination for the same award in 2018.

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Engen, in collaboration with FUEL Online Training, has delivered a record 3.5 million training interventions to Engen forecourt attendants around the country since its inception in 2013.

The training focuses on job skills and competencies related to customer service as well as critical life-skills which can be accessed via an iPad training app.

Community support material created for Engen staff includes basic first aid, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and understanding money management.

The programme has also offered 640 000-education interventions concerning people living with HIV, which still affects millions of South African families.

“We are very excited by the level of success achieved by our programme. The Engen sites that implemented Engen Learn have delivered increased customer satisfaction,” says Retail Training Academy Manager, Renee Kemm.

The Engen Learn programme has receive numerous national awards, including an award from Apple for innovation, the Future of HR Best Learning and Development Strategy award in 2017, and a Directors Best Choice nomination for the same award in 2018.

“This a ground breaking solution which, if nurtured, has the power to be a truly transformative force in South Africa. Our reach allows us to directly inspire thousands of employees, who in turn are empowered to impact on their families and communities,” adds Kemm.

Related: How Does One Start a Petrol Station in South Africa?

Below are some comments received via survey from service station staff about Engen Learn:

  • “Ever since the introduction of Engen Learn I learnt so much and not only about the industry but am happy to say am now debt free because I followed what I learned here.”
  • “When I started as a Cashier it was just a job. The Engen Learn modules about the history of Engen fascinated me. Today, even the President, is not as happy as I am in my job. All thanks to a simple app.”
  • “Engen Learn has taught me to be strong and resourceful manager and it has given me some powerful life lesson especially when it comes to budgeting and being a responsible person in life.”
  • “I have learned to identify someone who uses substances. I learned how to budget. I have learned how to deal with someone who is HIV positive.”

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