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Initiative supports education innovators

by Marco Cillario Wed 14 December 2016, 3:15 pm

A project has kicked-off to support ventures tackling inequality in education.

Medway is hosting the fifth Young Academy, a 12-week programme run by charity The Young Foundation. It began on 19 October and involves 11 early-stage education innovators from across the UK, which will receive training, take part in weekly workshops and apply for investment.

It is taking place in Sun Pier House in Chatham, with local schools engaged during the testing phase.

The aim is to improve the educational outcomes of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ventures will receive free mentoring and financial coaching by volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS, as well as support on developing their social impact model from NPC.

At the end of the programme, the organisations taking part will showcase their progress to local stakeholders and potential investors at a demo day in February 2017 and be able to apply for up to £150,000 from the Young Academy investment fund.

“Through the Young Academy, we seek to build strong links with local schools and other education institutions,” a spokesperson for The Young Foundation told Medway1, adding that the programme presented “a unique opportunity for the local community to engage with innovative approaches to improving educational outcomes for its young people”.

Those taking part, mainly based in London and the south east, include Algorhythm, which works to help non-English native speakers learn the language through immersion in music; The Junction – developing a mobile app to facilitate communication between isolated teachers in deprived areas; and Structural Learning – seeking to transform critical and creative thinking into a physical experience using a system of bricks.

They also include two Medway companies: Copperhouse Adventure Training, which provides affordable outdoor activities for young people in the area; and Lego Innovation Studio, based out of the Medway Youth Trust, which works to improve students’ performance in STEM subjects and IT.

“We are excited that the Young Academy is supporting this fifth group of social ventures with the tools they need to become sustainable and grow,” said programme manager James Teasdale. “In total, over 40 social enterprises have completed our incubator programme and several have gone on to secure investment from our investment fund.”

Previous Young Academy programmes took part in Nottingham and London.

Asked about the impact of the initiative, a spokesperson for the Young Foundation said that it was still too early to fully assess it, but overall it was positive: “We are working with local ventures – which will have access to investment – and local schools – which will be exposed to innovative solutions to the challenges they face.”

Further information on The Young Academy is available here.

Social ventures, advisors, teacher and potential investors can register for updates here.

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