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After an eight-week call for applications, Reach for Change Ethiopia announced the first cohort of 12 edtech startups selected to join the Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship.

This three-year program, supporting a total of 36 Edtech companies (12 per year), is a partnership between Reach for Change and the Mastercard Foundation. The fellowship equips selected Edtech ventures with critical business and financial support, insights into the science of learning, and prepares them for scale, sustainability, and impact.

The program, allocating a total of $2.1 million for equity-free funding, aims to accelerate the growth of promising Ethiopian Edtech ventures and bridge the gaps in the country’s education system.

The selected Edtech enterprises will receive a range of benefits, including one-on-one coaching from specialists, peer learning sessions, investor advisory, access to courses from Carnegie Mellon University, and equity-free funding of $60,000 for each startup.

At the announcement event held at Hayat Regency yesterday June 11, 2024, an overview and assessment of the edtech sector in Ethiopia was also unveiled by Reach for Change.

The study that surveyed 65 edtech companies found that the sector is dominated by early-stage startups. Over two-thirds of the surveyed startups were established after 2021, and only 13 (20%) have more than 5,000 active users. The survey also revealed that 75 percent of the edtech startups are headquartered in Addis Ababa, though their services reach users across the country.

According to the study, most edtech firms offer a variety of solutions catering to different education levels, languages, and even those with special needs. However, they face significant challenges, particularly in securing funding, reaching customers, and accessing business development support.

The first 12 startups to be part of the Edtech fellows are:

Wiz Kidss Tsehai for Families is a program that supports holistic child development through online courses, TV and radio shows, and community outreach. 

Qalam Educational Consultancy is transforming education in Ethiopia by tackling the high failure rates among grade 12 students. The platform offers personalized online learning with tailored video lectures, quizzes, and study materials.

Dynamo Center for Technology is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and research center in Jimma. Founded in 2019, Dynamo teaches children robotics in Afaan Oromoo. It provides personalized online educational tools and solutions, reaching students in urban and rural areas with high-quality resources to bridge the educational gap.

Ahaz Platforms: This Mekelle-based social enterprise tackles the limitations of traditional learning through its flagship project, Ahazawi.

Ahazawi is a digital learning platform designed to overcome barriers to entry and improve access and teaching consistency. Ahazawi personalizes the learning experience and increases access to quality education for all ages, particularly in Tigray.

Enechawet Games: established in 2029, Enechawot Games is creating interactive AR educational books and a user-friendly mobile app for children aged 4 to 12 in Ethiopia.

Kuraz Tech: Established in 2020 to provide information and communication technologies to the education sector, Kuraz releases its educational content in video formats. The startup launched its online learning platform in September 2020 with a capital of 2.1 million birr and offers diverse courses in local languages.

Softnet SolutionTM aims to improve Ethiopian schools through their Pi School system, focusing on reducing annual tasks to enhance education, especially for students with special needs.

Globe Dock: with over 100,000 subscribers Globe Dock uses digital content, AI-powered learning, and data insights to provide personalized education. Their platform offers interactive tools and tailors learning experiences, empowering students to contribute to societal progress.

Muyalogy is an innovative learning platform that offers courses in Amharic as an alternative for students who may face challenges accessing international platforms like Coursera. Muyalogy produces, markets, and manages video-based online courses in various fields. It currently provides 25 courses, including design, moviemaking, and marketing courses instructed by industry experts. The platform recently surpassed 55,000 users.

Fidel Tutorial: Provides personalized tutoring for all grades, both in person and online. They focus on core subjects and national exams, using pre-assessments, online program tracking, and a skilled team outdoors. 

Muya Space: Founded by Hiwot Zelalem, Muya Space provides TVET services for children, youth, and marginalized communities in Ethiopia. They offer an interactive online platform connecting learners with skilled artisans through video tutorials and live chat. 

Koderlab Training Center addresses limited access to IT education in Ethiopia. They offer software and hardware training. Their online classes and workshops also empower students with essential digital skills.

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Etenat holds a degree in Journalism and her master's in Public Relations. Previously, she served as a university lecturer and has five years of experience in communications, media, digital marketing, and consulting.