In 2022, African edtech startups raised only 0.72% of the total venture capital on the continent, according to BD Funding Tracker. In the next three years, Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) is looking to improve this number through its Edtech Fellowship Program.
The accelerator program intends to invest $15 million into 72 startups across Nigeria and Kenya between now and 2025. "Over the next three years, we will have 72 edtech companies launched into the market. We believe this will kickstart the ecosystem and reboot it afresh because out of that number, at least you're sure about half or 20-30% of them would live for another three to four years. And that will allow us to know if technology can truly work for education in Africa," Bosun Tijani, the co-founder and CEO of CcHUB, said.
Through this accelerator, CcHUB's in-house research team will work with portfolio startups and test their products from launch to scale. The leading Africa innovation hub will also provide expert support in product development, government relations, pedagogy and learning science, portfolio management, communication, instructional design and community building.
By offering shared resources, these groups will be vital to how each startup carries out team building, MVP and prototyping testing, go-to-market strategies, engagement with organizations, and receiving feedback from users. These value-adds will also complement the initial $100,000 funding startups get to access during the program. Aside from the accelerator, there is also a provision for follow-on investment that will offer diversification and lower risk for seed or Series A investors.
"If we invest intentionally in a very structured edtech inclusive ecosystem of government, teachers, investors, foundations, and even in some cases, the students and their parents, we believe that we can begin to gain a better understanding of how to use technology to improve learning in schools,” Tijani said in an interview with TechCrunch. "It is important that when we build a program that not only finds the smartest people in the startup ecosystem but also connects the startup ecosystem with government authorities, public sectors, schools, and academic institutions so that we can ensure that there’s a clear understanding of how to scale education solutions in the space."
CcHub and Africa's edtech sector
The launch of this fund is a reflection of the Tijani-led innovation hub's continued interest in the edtech sector. In 2020, CcHub acquired eLimu, a leading Kenyan edtech company and digital educational content provider. The goal of the acquisition at the time, according to CcHUB, was to transform eLimu into its digital education platform arm.
Prior to this acquisition, CcHUB partnered with Nigeria's premier university of education, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) in 2019, to launch an Edtech Centre of Excellence.
And in August 2020, iHub—acquired by CcHub in 2019—opened the iHub Teachers’ Lounge to equip teachers with 21st-century teaching skills and online teaching tools for richer methods of teaching and collaboration in classrooms.
Across Africa, CcHUB boasts of a network of more than 1100 startups who can trace their roots to the hub's innovation-focused programs and interventions, more than 7,300 direct jobs created by its portfolio companies, 35,000+ indirect jobs have been created by portfolio companies through their value chain, more than $10,000,000 invested in direct startups by CcHUB and over $150 million in external funding attracted by the startups in their portfolio.