The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund and Village Capital are currently looking for up to 16 Indian edupreneurs who would like to participate in a 12 week incubator program from September to November 2013.
The aim of the incubator program is to help those education entrepreneurs build their business and to improve their investability.
As in every incubator program the teams will get access to in-person and remote training by experts and mentors. Each month there is going to be a 3-4 days conference style workshop supplemented with webinars and other online communication. The first two workshops focus on the team and business model, the final workshop is going to deal with the financial aspects around fund raising.
The twist is that after each workshop the teams have to pitch and rate each others performance after six criteria:
- Customer discovery/development
- Product refinement
- Scaling and impact
- Exit strategy
After the final ranking on the Investors’ Demo Day, the top two startups are going to receive up to $75k each. Pearson Affordable Learning Fund provides $100k, Village Capital $50k.
Of course, the projects pitched should fit the general theme of providing children of low-income families with good education opportunities.
“We are thrilled to bring this programme to entrepreneurs striving to develop businesses that enhance outcomes and access for low-income learners in India. We’ve seen a lack of early support and risk capital in the low-cost education space and we are pleased to take the lead in creating a robust ecosystem for impact-oriented edupreneurs and incubate innovative models of education to dramatically improve learning at scale.”
says Katelyn Donnelly, Executive Director at Pearson Affordable Learning Fund.
Unfortunately, this program has some barriers that might single out promising edupreneurs from the start. First of all, applicants need to cover the travel expenses for at least one team member as every workshop is going to take place in another Indian city, namely Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore. On top of that they also need to pay a $250 nominal program fee.
Other points include that non-funded startups are preferred (more equity for Pearson and Village Capital), plans to raise at least $500k in the next two years and only for-profit concepts are eligible for seed funding.
Applications to the incubator program are open until mid-August. The selected startups and winners are going to be announced end of November.