Innovation Edge has launched a grant funding initiative for bold solutions aimed at increasing positive involvement by South African fathers and father figures in the early years of their children’s lives.
Innovation Edge is an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa.
R1.3 million in grant funding
In a statement on Monday (23 August), the investment firm said selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee.
Successful ventures will receive up to R1.3 million each in grant funding, strategic coaching, customised operational support and connections to social capital. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2021.
Research shows that when a child has an active and positive father or father figure in their lives, they benefit in numerous ways, such as better performance at school, the likelihood of stable employment and better mental health.
Sadly, many young children in South Africa grow up without the benefit of a dependable, consistent and motivated male caregiver. Reasons for the absence of proactive fathering are numerous and complex.
Barriers include social and cultural norms, unemployment and the inability to provide financially, prohibitive parental leave policies, and unwelcoming health sector institutions – particularly in the critical first 1,000 days of life period. In addition, many fathers have themselves not received adequate care and support from their fathers during childhood.
Innovation Edge wants to support solutions that aim to overcome these barriers. Their call, launched on 23 August and running until 30 September, is for innovative solutions that will result in quality father-child relationships with a focus on the early years of a child’s life (0 to 6 years.)
They welcome submissions from individual innovators as well as registered non-profit and for profit social enterprises in South Africa.
Briefly, eligibility criteria include the following:
- Ventures must be at the stage of feasibility testing; or prototyping and market testing; or transitioning to scale. Ventures in the ideation phase will not be accepted.
- Ventures must be innovative in that they find an entirely new way of doing things or repurpose an existing solution in order to solve an evidence-based problem.
- The venture needs to have a capable and committed lead person, who is able to benefit from coaching.
- The venture must, directly or indirectly, benefit children aged 0-6 years (this includes the period of development during pregnancy) in South Africa.
- It must not exclude children in low-income families.
- Ventures must be focused on enabling quality father-child relationships.