Start-up employing refugees to teach languages joins wise

Qatar Foundation education initiative takes on British start-up for its accelerator programme

A British education start-up which employs refugees to help UK students practice their Arabic and other foreign languages was selected to join the Doha-based World Innovation Summit for Education Accelerator.

Chatterbox is a language-tutoring platform created and delivered by refugees.

The start-up finds, trains, and then contracts highly-skilled individuals, who are refugees, to deliver language training to their clients. Chatterbox tackles the problem of unemployment amongst refugee populations, turning what would usually be considered a barrier to refugee employment – their native language – into an asset.

The five selected initiatives will kick-off the program during the WISE@NY forum that will take place on September 22ndin New York. During the forum, representatives of the initiatives will take part in workshops, attend master classes, and participate in pitching sessions. The WISE Accelerator team will also organize high-level meetings for the representatives of the five initiatives with leaders and entrepreneurs of various organizations who are developing solutions and programs in education and education technology. 

Mursal Hedayat, Co-founder and Director of Chatterbox, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be a part of the upcoming WISE Accelerator program. We look forward to working with the team and their incredible network of mentors and partners to bring a timely and impactful idea like Chatterbox to life.”

WISE, an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), has revealed the names of Chatterbox and four other EdTech initiatives selected to join its 2018-19 WISE Accelerator program. The Accelerator supports the development of innovative EdTech initiatives with high potential to make a positive impact. Selected initiatives will receive support from mentors and WISE partners to scale up their startups, improve their international visibility, and identify potential partners, donors and investors through networking opportunities organized by WISE.

The WISE Accelerator has had a profound impact on the development and scale-up of CamBioScience. The mentors on the program are leading figures in EdTech and business and are fully committed to helping us grow and succeed

Chibeza Agley, Co-founder and CEO of CamBioScience, a previous member of the 2017-18 cohort said: “The WISE Accelerator has had a profound impact on the development and scale-up of CamBioScience. The mentors on the program are leading figures in EdTech and business and are fully committed to helping us grow and succeed.

“As a result of WISE Accelerator, we were successful in raising our seed funding round, and were able to identify and appoint a key business advisor. We also had the opportunity to explore crucial international markets and receive advice of how to refine our international scale-up strategy.”

Nayla Fahed Zreik, Co-founder of Lebanese Alternative Learning, an NGO based in Lebanon and member of the 2017-18 WISE Accelerator cohort said: “WISE Accelerator is not only about accelerating your business; it’s about accelerating your mind. You will never think in the same way after a few sessions with your mentor. The WISE mentorship process is a tailor-made solution. Your mentor will provide you with potential solutions tailored to your business.”

The other four initiatives to become part of the Accelerator programme are:

A social impact startup based in Nigeria, ScholarX enables African youth to access education through various education financing solutions regardless of their socio-economic background. ScholarX offers a scholarship aggregator mobile/web app, which has over 10,000 local and foreign-targeted scholarships. It also provides a micro-scholarship crowdfunding platform called ‘the Village’ that connects local students with tuition funding sponsors worldwide.

An initiative of the Big Picture Company, a non-governmental organization based in the United States, ImBlaze is an online management platform that enables educators and students to easily and efficiently manage out-of-school internship experiences to support real-world, personalized learning. It supports students in looking for an internship. Once the internship starts, the educator in school and the mentor in the work place accompany the student in the learning process.

A startup based in the United States, SmartScience provides students with an online platform that facilitates learning in the sciences. The company developed a technology that allows students to test a hypothesis by measuring results on videos of real world experiments. SmartScience offers over 300 lessons in the sciences and every lesson is designed with the goal to foster the learning of the experimentation method among students.

Uptale is a French startup that offers software-as-a-service platform to enable creators to imagine, create, publish and monitor immersive learning experiences using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Uptale allows anyone, without any technical background or prior training, to create gamified interactive VR and AR learning content and publish it using the Uptale platform.

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