CT edtech startup wants to reach 1M kids and solve Africa’s tech job skills crisis

 

Mindjoy, the Cape Town-based edtech startup that’s for kids, aims to help one million children discover their superpowers through coding.

Founded by Gabi Immelman in July 2021, Mindjoy is tackling one of the sector’s most pervasive challenges – the lack of digital skills development.

Mindjoy makes use of Replit, a browser-based development environment that doesn’t require specific hardware or software. This allows both kids and adults to code on any device that can connect to internet. It is much more accessible than other solutions.

Children aged 8+ enjoy coding in live, small-group and virtual classes. They learn real programming languages by working on hands-on projects. These sessions are led by qualified coaches who have been vetted. They are trained to encourage curiosity and support rigorous analytical thinking.

Currently operational across Africa and Europe, Mindjoy’s mission is to develop kids’ critical skills while they learn to express themselves using technology.

In Africa, the estimated value of the edtech industry will reach more than USD 10 million by 2026.

Mindjoy’s four-member development team is creating a customized platform that uses machine learning to match children to the best peer group. Helping kids find the right projects and the right peers is the secret to having kids “discover their own superpowers”, Immelman says. Immelman emphasizes that learning is about the emotions of the children, not the information.

The coaching sessions are conducted online so that anyone can access them from anywhere. There are currently sessions for children from around the world. These include the United Kingdom (Hungary), Spain, Sweden, Spain and South Africa.

“Being forced into boring educational environments means kids build up resistance to learning. We encourage children to lead the learning process and invite their friends along. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience learning that is joyful, curious and inspiring,” Immelman says.

Immelman is adamant that the Mindjoy business model has to be sustainable – and not an NGO – to ensure the project’s longevity. The cost of membership is R1000 per month for each child. It includes unlimited training sessions and scheduled sessions every week. (Parents can log in and see their child’s progress at any time of day or night.).

Mindjoy also offers individual memberships. Mindjoy partners up with corporations to purchase Mindjoy memberships that are for children from low-income backgrounds. In this way, team members aren’t caught up in what Immelman calls “the mind-numbing tedium of fundraising” that NGOs suffer, and can instead focus on helping kids discover the joy of learning.

“We won’t be able to truly benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the metaverse unless we help kids to become lifelong learners. This business is about making that a reality, while also teaching kids to enjoy acquiring the type of technology skills South Africa and Africa as a continent requires from its future creators,” Immelman concludes.

 

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