A hefty new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow LEANLAB Education to expand its incoming 2019 K12 Fellowship from six to 10 innovation teams, Katie Boody said.
The $76,500 in funding also allows the education accelerator to grow beyond pilot sites to form the Visionary School Network and award honorariums to educators implementing innovative solutions, added Boody, CEO of LEANLAB.
“This year we’re prioritizing feedback from educators in real school settings,” she said. “Our entrepreneurs will work closely with educators to validate their products and make sure they’re really working for students. We believe that this process will create better innovations that are working to solve our schools’ most pressing problems.”
LEANLAB Education is the first organization in the region to attract the support of both the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gates Foundation, said Alexander Sheppard, marketing and fund development coordinator. The funding organizations are the philanthropic arms of the founders of Facebook and Microsoft, respectively.
“With their support, we’re excited to grow our footprint and impact even more students throughout the Kansas City metro region and beyond,” Sheppard said.
Applications for the 2019 K12 Fellowship are now open through June 16.
Click here to learn more or apply.
The K12 Fellowship is an accelerator program, spanning from August to January, for startup ventures focused on solving real problems within education. Cohort 6 Fellows will work with schools in Kansas City to validate their products or services within a real classroom setting.
Historically, LEANLAB has only accepted six companies into the K12 Fellowship but additional funding has allowed a larger, more-tiered system of success. The top six companies will be chosen by school leaders at the pilot sites and will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The next four top-rated teams will work alongside the other fellows in the intensive curriculum portion of the fellowship, focusing on K12 sales strategy and business viability.
In the past five years, 34 entrepreneurs have been through the K12 Fellowship. They have gone on to raise over $6M in investment and have impacted over 1.9 million students across the United States since 2013 and 19,786 students in Kansas City last year alone.