Closing the Global Literacy Gap Starts Here
Project Literacy Lab, co-founded by Unreasonable Group and Pearson, brought together 16 of the fastest growing ventures worldwide that are each positioned to uniquely solve key challenges tied to illiteracy. The two-week program, held on a vineyard in northern California, aligned these entrepreneurs with the resources, mentorship, access to financing, and a global network of support needed to help them scale internationally and intercontinentally faster. Through their work, these entrepreneurs are working to close the global illiteracy gap by 2030. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Project literacy Lab participants worked with mentors over the course of two weeks to solve key challenges for their business. Juan Rodriquez was one of the entrepreneurs who attended the program. Rodriguez founded Kingo Energy, a prepaid solar energy company that enables children, often living in poverty, to reliably study at night using affordable and safe energy. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Project Literacy Lab drew from a vast network of mentors to work with the entrepreneurs. Paul Polak is the founder of International Development Enterprises (IDE), an organization that has ended poverty for over 20 million of the world’s poorest people by making radically affordable technology and opening private sector access to underserved markets. Polak encouraged attendees to spend time with the people their work impacts most. “Start by listening with your soul to the people you are designing for, as your teachers and your friends.” (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Tom Chi, spent the first few days going through rapid prototyping with the participants and speaking about the importance of learning through doing. "Customers are like oxygen. However long you want to go without oxygen is like however long to want to go without testing with customers." (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Every day, program participants gathered in small groups of other entrepreneurs, mentors and specialists for deep dives into one entrepreneur's key challenges. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Vital to the success of the program for the entrepreneurs was the peer-to-peer learning. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Amruth Ravindranath, founder of Guru-G Learning Labs talks during one of his deep dives. Guru-G works to bridge the shortage of high quality education in India by giving teachers tools to measurably improve student learning. Today, Guru-G has reached over 400 schools, and over 4100 teachers use the app to teach over 100,000 students across India. (Caitlin Keiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Although education is shown to decrease recidivism by 43%, 4 out of 5 of those in U.S. jails and prisons do not have regular access to education that will break their cycle of poverty and illiteracy—the biggest barrier to employment after prison. Edovo, founded by Brian Hill, is working to break that cycle by using tablet technology to provide education and self-improvement tools to those in custody. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Mohanjit Jolly is a Partner at DFJ, managing DFJ’s India portfolio. Jolly has worked with and invested in technology startups since 1998 and was a valuable mentor for the entrepreneurs during the program. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Jennifer Young, the Director of Social Impact Programs for Pearson, welcomed a group of 50 investors, and representatives of funds and foundations to a private gathering held at the close of the program. (Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable Group)
Christen Lien, a violist and composer, closed out the investor gathering with a private concert for attendees. (Caitlin Keiboer/Unreasonable Group)
An estimated 757 million people are unable to read this sentence because they remain illiterate, and one in 10 adults in the US cannot read. To bridge this opportunity gap, Pearson and the Unreasonable Group have partnered together to launch “Project Literacy Lab,” the world’s first accelerator for entrepreneurs dedicated to closing the global literacy gap by 2030.
Project Literacy Lab brings together 16 high-growth ventures headquartered across five continents to collectively scale their technologies and products to combat illiteracy worldwide. Examples of ventures include Guru-G, the fastest growing app in India helping teachers teach; Edovo, tablet technology for incarcerated adults in the US; and Livox, an AI learning platform that customizes teaching for students with disabilities.
Check out the above slideshow for highlights from the week. And if you’d like an easy way to throw your hat in the ring, sign this petition from Project Literacy, intended to keep illiteracy top of mind for influential global leaders.
We think words mean power, and so should you. Through Project Literacy, GOOD and Pearson are building partnerships for a more literate future. Follow the #ProjectLiteracy hashtag and visit good.is or projectliteracy.com to tell us your stories, help us ask the right questions, and take action in your community.