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Wed 25 Feb 2015 02:52 PM

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New $50 million fund for education entrepreneurs

A new fund aims to support start-ups with innovative solutions for the world’s educational problems.

New $50 million fund for education entrepreneurs
Karim Daoud, managing director of Pearson in the Middle East

An international learning company has announced plans to invest $50 million in ventures that provide education to low-income learners in emerging markets.

Pearson, a learning company operating in more than 80 countries around the world, has designed two new initiatives – The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund and Project Literacy – to increase its support for better educational outcomes in the developing world.

After the launch in 2012 with $15 million of capital, The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund is now increasing capital investments in for-profit companies to meet a burgeoning demand for high quality affordable education services in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Karim Daoud, managing director of Pearson in the Middle East, says: “Through the new $50 million investment, Pearson expects to reach millions of additional students and young people by 2020.

“In addition - by providing financial backing, good governance, and operational support to education entrepreneurs - the Fund aims to foster and scale innovation throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America”.

The Fund has already invested in innovative education start-ups in South Africa, Ghana, India, and the Philippines. Half of the fund is currently invested in companies with female CEOs.

Project Literacy, a new social impact campaign to improve global literacy rates over the next five years, evolves on the gains achieved in improving the literacy rates in countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Pearson expects to announce its first Project Literacy partnerships in the first half of 2015.

Katelyn Donnelly, managing director of the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, said: "The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund supports the brightest entrepreneurs aiming to transform education in the developing world.

“Our much-needed capital helps improve standards and push for scale to benefit those learners who are most in need of a world-class education.

"We believe that start-up culture can inject innovation and determination into some of the world's toughest educational systems."