Education Entrepeneurs in the Spotlight for Social Impact

Education Entrepeneurs in the Spotlight for Social Impact

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Edtech entrepreneurs are out in full force this season. The Echoing Green Fellowship, one of the most prestigious organizations recognizing social entrepreneurship and impact, recently announced its 2013 Fellows. To our delight, some familiar faces--along with new ones--were duly honored. Edupreneurs for the 2013 Echoing Green Fellows include:

  • Momo Akade, Black Female Achievement Fellow (Gigabryte; formerly TinkerTags): Akade and her co-founder Mike Duong have literally been lighting up the stage at Stanford, Imagine K-12, and Maker Faire. The company offers kids LED tags that they can program to display crazy light patterns and proudly attach to their clothes, backpacks, sneakers--wherever! 
  • Kalimah Priforce, Black Male Achievement Fellow (Qeyno Labs): Kalimah's been on our radars since the early Startup Weekend EDU days, so it's a delight to see his career discovery platform, Qeyno Labs, duly recognized for its efforts to connect classroom students to workplaces and careers through a "micro-mentorship" model.
  • Neil D'Souza, Education Fellow (Zaya): Neil caught our attention with low-cost, wireless backpacks in Mongolia to deliver OER content to kids and adults in rural communities. Now, his non-profit organization is setting up a network of low-cost blended learning labs through India, owned and operated by women. We also learn from his profile that he held India's National Swimming Record by going 79 hours straight--at the age of twelve.
  • Shaila Ittycheria & Kane Sarhan, Education Fellows (Enstitute): Enstitute is all about bringing apprenticeships back to the education, where students get two-year internships at cool non-profits and techie startups, alongside a more formal, traditional curriculum. It's hands-on learning for in-demand job skills--without the burden of outrageous fees.

Also, American Express and Ashoka announced its list of 45 emerging innovators. Among the edupreneurs are:

  • Jason Young (MindBlown Labs): The company has raised over $70K in a successful Kickstarter campaign to build mobile social games that teach high school and college students financial literacy and 21st century skills. Reads the Kickstarter page: "We want players to lose themselves playing the game; then stop, look up, and realize: they can fund their retirement for the modest price of two Soy Lattes per day..."
  • Maurya Couvares (ScriptEd): There's been quite a buzz about teaching kids how to code, accompanied by armies of summer camps and volunteer programs. Among them is ScriptEd, dedicated to teaching computer programming to low-income students through organizing field trips with local tech companies to bring professionals to lead after-school programs in places like Harlem.
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