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NewSchools Venture Fund: Ignite Virtual Accelerator Program – Early Learning Challenge

Deadline: August 31, 2017

NewSchools Ignite supports entrepreneurs working to address the most pressing gaps in PreK-12 education technology. Through this work, NewSchools’ seeks to cultivate high-impact, sustainable, and scalable innovations that will improve academic and social outcomes for children. Over time, it hopes to help all stakeholders better understand what it takes to develop high quality digital tools that benefit students and teachers across the U.S.

The Early Learning Challenge will support entrepreneurs developing technology-enabled learning experiences, instructional content, learning diagnostics, administrative tools, and other digital products that support students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Grantees will participate in a virtual accelerator program that offers an opportunity for the most promising companies and nonprofit organizations working in this space to learn, connect, and grow together. In addition to grant funding, challenge winners receive feedback and hands-on support from best-in-class entrepreneurs, educators, researchers and other experts.

NewSchools is looking for companies and nonprofits developing products that:

  • Ignite students’ curiosity and facilitate deeper learning
  • Address one or more of the critical student needs identified by educators
  • Are accessible and usable by a wide range of children – especially underserved student populations
  • Are designed to help students take ownership of their own learning
  • Support teachers’ delivery of tailored instruction
  • Have potential to achieve wide distribution and generate sustainable revenue
  • Align with the NewSchools’ diligence and investment criteria

While the virtual accelerator program includes two in-person convenings, challenge winners do not need to re-locate to participate in other program elements. The program will last for approximately six months, featuring targeted content and feedback delivered via phone/video meetings, web-based presentations, and opportunities for online collaboration.

Amount: Challenge winners receive:

  • Grant funding ranging from $50,000-$150,000, depending on product stage
  • Participation in opening and closing convenings + NewSchools Summit (in-person)
  • Product feedback and guidance from best-in-class entrepreneurs, educators, researchers and other experts
  • Research partnership with WestEd to provide formative product feedback and execute a small-scale study on usability or feasibility
  • Advice and best practices on user testing, accessibility, and designing for classrooms/schools
  • Digital resources including access to a virtual entrepreneur community and web-based presentations on topics including fundraising and revenue models

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies are eligible. Products across a wide developmental spectrum, ranging from early- to growth-stage will be supported. Applicants must submit at least one product as part of their application (prototypes accepted).

Link: http://www.newschools.org/ignite/

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