We are building researcher and social entrepreneur coalitions who jointly create evidence-based education solutions that are supported by institutional partnerships with an entrepreneurial focus.
We strengthen bottom-up innovation to identify and strengthen solutions that effectively address children’s individual learning needs and support them to reach their full potential.
In these goal-driven partnerships, we develop and institutionalize innovative mechanisms that support and incentivize researchers and practitioners across the globe to work together to create evidence-based solutions for the 21st century.
By harnessing the power of the Jacobs network, and creating new links and coalitions between partners and stakeholders, we want to amplify and inspire further action towards bringing evidence-based solutions into the education ecosystem.
The Programs in detail are:
The Ghanaian educational system continues to face several challenges despite noteworthy progress in recent decades. Many children still achieve poor educational outcomes due to overcrowded classrooms, lack of access to school materials and a shortage of well-trained teachers. Over half a million children are not enrolled in primary school – a problem which disproportionately affects girls and children with disabilities.
While many current social entrepreneurs in Ghana strive to innovate and create effective education solutions, most do not impact children’s educational outcomes at the scale or depth they desire. Common challenges include limited access to funding, political barriers within the education sector, difficulties in measuring and proving their impact, and a need for stronger strategic leadership within their organizations.
The Jacobs Foundation will collaborate with Reach for Change through tailored support with ten education-focused social entrepreneurs in Ghana. A two-year scaling readiness program will strengthen the evidence-based aspect of their solutions and lay the groundwork for future scaling. Support provided will intentionally create synergies with and integrate a range of JF networks, partnerships and resources, both in Ghana and further afield.
Main Project Objectives:
- Improved practices and increased knowledge of good practice among the cohort
- Increased partnerships with professionals who support entrepreneurs with funding
- Cohort increasingly shows positive results in terms of impact, business model and scaling trajectories
Reach for Change
January 2022 – December 2023
Education is one of the most powerful levers for change. Education promises a vital path forward with opportunity and social mobility for individuals, groups, and societies. Our increasingly interconnected world continues to shed light on the compounding and intersecting challenges faced by our children, families, and communities worldwide. While we do not yet know the lasting impact—on individuals, the workforce, the economy, and our collective futures—it is evident that we must find new and effective ways to deliver the unparalleled promise of education to those who need it most.
The current momentum and urgency demands new, impactful, sustainable, and scalable ways to address persistent challenges through education innovation. To help the best ideas in education grow and flourish, we cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is rooted in excellence, evidence, embraces next-generation technology, and promotes global collaboration and impact.
The Jacobs Foundation with Penn Graduate School of Education will create a three-year pathway for education venture development, acceleration, and ecosystem engagement for the Jacobs Fellows and partner network. Jacobs Impact Fellows will be recruited from the world’s first master’s (M.S.Ed.) and dual-degree (MBA-M.S.Ed.) program in Education Entrepreneurship at the Penn GSE and the Wharton Business School. The venture acceleration program will include 6-8 months of mentoring, skill building, innovation models, coaching, and networking.
The Jacobs fellowship will include two competitive award cycles. For Phase 1, five Fellows will be selected from the current student cohort enrolled in the Education Entrepreneurship master’s program. Following an immersive 6-8 month developmental program during year 1, a Phase 2 Fellow will be selected as the winner and will receive continued one-year long support to refine, test, implement, and fund their ventures.
January 2022 – June 2025
Learning is critical for positive human development and a productive society. Many children and youth worldwide are not given equitable access to high quality educational opportunities because of their family background, where they are from, or their socioeconomic status. Education technology has the potential to even the playing field and transform teaching and learning. EdTech can provide effective tools to navigate and adapt to the diverse needs of learners, providing more equitable opportunities for learning.
The Jacobs Foundation will work closely with UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to bring innovative, evidence-backed education technologies that create a positive impact on child development and learning, out of the lab and into the world. The collaboration will expand UC Berkeley’s entrepreneurship education and program offerings and connecting researchers and programs with UC Irvine’s Connecting the Edtech Research Ecosystem (CERES).
On the Berkeley campus and beyond world class inventors are developing innovative education technologies and need help to get their ideas from the labs and into the hands of learners. Capitalizing on the Berkeley Haas’ strengths in developing diverse innovators and supporting them to launch new ventures, this collaboration with the Jacobs Foundation will build a pipeline of entrepreneurs specifically in the education technology space and help them move their game changing ideas into the market.
- Build a pipeline of impact-minded education entrepreneurs through an MBA Fellowship
- Support EdTech researchers and innovators to transform them into successful entrepreneurs through dedicated programs, such as the Lean transfer course and UC LAUNCH accelerator
- Integrate the rich connections and synergies with CERES
January 2022 – December 2025
Breakthroughs and insights now emerge regularly from the learning sciences. Findings are however slow to be accepted and integrated into schools, family support systems, and the social consciousness in positive ways. New findings are too often either left to wilt in inaccessible academic journals, contorted by splashy headlines, or they are too complicated to lead to real policy changes.
The Jacobs Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) program aims to create a conversation between scientists, education leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and entertainment producers. The program responds to the needs of all five sectors as they are usually operating in isolation from each other. Our fellows become agents of change in their communities and respective disciplines. They carry the science of learning and lessons gained through participation in the LSX program with them throughout their careers.
- Advance the translation of developmental and educational science for use in schools, communities, and societies,
- Create an international network of interdisciplinary thought leaders who are globally recognized and local change agents,
- Develop and strengthen relationships between leaders in various sectors,
- Spread awareness of the LSX model for bringing together talented individuals from typically siloed sectors.
The LSX network will prove to be an invaluable resource with the potential to catalyze change far beyond what fellows can accomplish alone.
June 2022 – September 2024