Can the Varkey Foundation ‘Next Billion’ EdTech prize transform Ed-tech Startups in Developing Region?

Dubai’s Varkey Foundation, ‘Next Billion’ EdTech, Dubai, UAE

The Dubai’s Varkey Foundation has today launched ‘Next Billion’ EdTech prize aimed at rewarding top ed-tech enterprises. The event is scheduled for 17-18 March this year at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai. The GESF also was known as the “Davos of Education” will be made up of 2000 and above delegates all over the world.  The core mandate of the 2 days gathering is to resolve global education challenges. Besides rewarding, the initiative will identify and celebrate successful ed-tech startups which have improved education sector via ingenuity and innovation. The company in 2013 had also established $1 million Global Teacher Prize a US initiative which had great socio-economic benefits.

The recent UNESCO report shows that 264 million children don’t go to school and 600 million school attendees don’t learn globally. These categories of children are facing education crisis since they lack basic reading mathematical skills. The report added that about one billion young generations are deprived of fundamental education is their birthright in the 21st century. The prize award is expected to energize innovation to handle learning challenges. The initiative hopes to foster practical and sustainable entrepreneurship culture to the youths based on ed-tech ideas.  In approximate, more than 40 startups from the low-income region are invited to participate in the 2018 GESF event.

A panel of expert judges emanating from senior education policymakers, philanthropic investors, and ed-tech experts. Other judges from venture capitalists, GESF delegates, education staff from private and public education institution &social sectors representatives. The Sunday final pitch competition will be conducted for the only six finalists’ startups in front of live audience and judges. The first winners will take home $25,000 each alongside partnering opportunity with Western Cape of South Africa. Other opportunities comprised of ministerial mentoring, Edtech investment, Paperclip business mentoring, foundation consultation, learning science mentoring and UCL Ed-tech research.

According to Sunny Varkey, the event will mark the first ed-tech competition worldwide comprised of skilled players from technology and education spheres. The participant can learn and obtain technical and financial support to make design appropriate education products. The list of 50 selected best finalists to attend the tomorrow’s GESF 2018 ed-tech will be declared soon. The ‘Tomorrow’s Next Billion’ prize summit application is ongoing for all potential participants.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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