Beta
MIT

Pitch

App connects donors,education organizations and students to crowdfund for education. Donor selects student profiles, pays schools tuition.

Description

Summary

Build a global education community of donors, students requiring financial aid, academic institutions and corporates furthering education funding

edSeed: an education focused crowd-funding social network developed bytheVIP.fund (US-based 501c3 supporting youth education through programs and incubating tech and media startups) delivered on Android & iOS

Key features

  • Detailed student profiles: Degree, location, aspirations, academic performance, video & photo updates engaging donors actively

  • Donor campaign selection:  filter students by degree, location, gender, university

  • University verification: addresses donor concerns over student data integrity & fund distribution by having education institutions validate student enrollment & directly receive funds

  • Endorsement: students can seek endorsements through their social network to raise their profiles

  • Grant Matching: Donor organizations incentivize, individual donors by matching their donations

User acquisition

  • Educational institutions - on-boarding universities through training programs; once trained, a university connects their student records and financial systems through APIs to validate student enrollment & transfer funds to University-held student accounts

  • Students - training programs delivered by VIP.fund fellows in the field to orient students with the app and the crowd-funding process

Unique proposition

  • Ongoing campaign updates - using familiar social media skills, students keep donors aware of & interested in their updates & obtains endorsements from their  community on other social networks

  • Transparency & credibility addresses donor concern over campaign credibility by verifying student enrollment & sending funds directly to the educational institution

  • Analytics - provide campaign insights & analytics to educational institutions & donors

Address an overlooked demographic - most education aid goes to K-12, few solves the growing problem for university students funding, a segment able to support entire families upon graduation

What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?

  1. We start by targeting the University-ready demographic. Our premise is that if we can assist one student who’s near graduation to become financially independent, they can support a family of 4, perhaps 8 if they are majoring in a degree that can provide them with income generating employment opportunity.

  2. We will engage a global sympathetic audience in funding universities accepting displaced / refugee youth in the “conflict & crisis zones” focusing immediately in the Levant. We will then expand to universities in the Middle East region, followed by those accepting refugees in the US and Europe and  expand to address all universities taking students who require financial aid.  We’ll move to K-12, and mainstream youth education globally. We aim to build a community that values education, understands the global impact of providing access to affordable education and cares to fund youth irrespective of their backgrounds, gender or national origins

  3. We can potentially fund 6000 scholarships in the first three years of operation. Each graduate can help support an entire family by lifting them out of poverty within a short amount of time. One employed graduate can take care of up to 4 family members, that’s an impact on 24,000 refugees. Like other crowd-funding platforms we expect to grow beyond three years and move from 13% annual growth to 20-25%. By year 5, we anticipate delivering over 320 Million dollars in scholarship funding through the platform.

  4. By bringing together the education community under one platform we can in the future expand services to include:

    1. Funding k-12 education

    2. Funding education research projects and programs

    3. Building online mentoring functionality - having built a community of students we can either partner and connect with a mentoring platform or add the functionality to edSeed

What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?

  • Development & testing - The edSeed mobile app is in Beta testing on Android and iOS; the analytics educational institution web interface is under construction.

  • User acceptance testing - After Beta testing, two student groups from universities in Lebanon and the West Bank have been identified to test the app.

  • Pilot - We will pilot edSeed in 5 universities in Lebanon, the West Bank and Jordan. This phase requires orientation and training for the university administration teams who will interface with the app (Financial aid, accounting)

  • Go to market

    • Educational institutions - Once the pilot is complete we’ll expand it to scholarship foundations that have ongoing support programs and reach with the refugees as well as with international universities accepting refugees.

    • Students - Ongoing programs to train youth on how to profile themselves (through online individual content and videos highlighting their achievements to better attract donors.)

    • Donors - Mobilize the community of donors through digital, traditional marketing campaigns, and industry events.

  • Training and breaking barriers -  An integral part of the success is training Arab youth on transferring their existing skills and presence on social media to benefit their education. Our training programs will run in parallel to the application launch and donor outreach. Arab youth are active on many social media networks; however their use of the networks is primarily social. Our research and crowd-funding pilot programs indicate that less than 30% are aware of crowd-funding options and fewer than 10% have considered raising funds for their education. After going through our pilot training two shifts happen among participant’s:

    • Removing the stigma of asking for money - Many Arab students associate asking with money with poverty and shame and require examples and reasons to break away from that mindset.

    • Learning self-branding on social media - Gaining a professional understanding of social media, the powerful applications it has to promote an individual’s professional interests and how to self-brand to achieve those goals.

Who will take these actions?

  • Educational Institutions:  Willing to utilize the app to provide student enrollment verification and receive funds on behalf of students

  • Scholarship Foundations: Willing to utilize the app to supplement their existing donor base and receive funds on behalf of students for universities not enrolled on the app.

  • Students: Willing to transfer their existing social media skills to crowd-fund their education and support colleagues in doing the same.

  • US-based Universities: Phase I we have interest from Universities in the USA to participate in training youth through peers in the USA (Online), and helping spread the word through conferences they host on the topic. Rutgers University, Roger Williams University are among the participating instiutions. 

  • Donors: Willing to donate $10 or more to fund the education of an at-risk-youth to reduce their dependency on aid and hopefully stop resorting to drop out and pursue low-income dead-end career choices.

  • Donor Organizations & Corporate CSR Divisions: Create fund matching for specific demographics (Ex. Ford Foundation providing a 100 grant matching individual donor contributions for students studying mechanical engineering)

  • PR and communication firms: facilitate opportunities to reach donors and donor organizations and feature stories of star students in local and global media outlets helping them get more funding.

  • Open Source Community -  contribute to further develop edSeed create advanced features to accelerate community growth.

An edSeed team - app developers, trainers in the field, university relationship managers, legal and financial auditors, marketing and business development donor outreach team

Key Users & Roles

Target geography

The diversity of the target community requires a segmentation by group when addressing target geographies. We begin by marketing to and on-boarding students and educational institutions in critical areas along with donors who are most sympathetic in neighboring geographies as well as sympathetic donor groups in remote geographies.

Students:

Phase I -  Students from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq accepted to or enrolled in universities and require financial aid

Phase II - Students requiring financial aid in other Middle East and North African countries

Phase III - Students requiring financial aid in Europe and the United States.

Phase IV - K-12 students and education research projects, by expanding application features and process to reach these sectors

 

Educational  Institutions:

Phase I - Universities in Lebanon, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan. Scholarship foundations catering to displaced youth from the Levant.

Phase II - Universities across the Middle East, Europe and the US.

Phase III - K-12 educational institutions and select educational research institutions.

 

Donors:

Phase I -

  • Donor organizations in the Middle East and North Africa, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council includes Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman), Europe and US through industry events and responses to requests for proposals these organizations issue.

  • Individual Donors through regional and global digital campaign The demographic is 26-60, employed, with interest in the target population.


Phase II - Corporates with cause marketing budgets for education. Outreach to corporates in the target geographies who have an interest in our app demographic. Examples include FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies such as Unilever or Nestle who market heavily to this demographic, or Mobile and telecom providers who also target youth demographic and often have CSR budgets to support them.

What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?

Expenses:

  • Set up fees and Legal

  • Marketing

  • Third-party software

  • Hosting

  • Administrative costs

  • Credit Card fees - Pass through cost to the donors 2.5% per transaction

 

Income:

  • Crowd-funding Campaign Income - Average $4000 per campaign x 5467 Campaigns in three years

  • Grant Match - by corporates and larger donor organizations

  • University-based training - $5000 to onboard a University x 5 training sessions per year

  • Data & Reporting - industry reports generated from the data collected in edSeed providing aggregate data (not disclosing user specific information)

 

An option will be provided to donor organizations to cover operating costs and allow edSeed to provide 100% of the donations to cover tuition


edSeed is owned by the VIP.fund and operates as a non-profit. Any income generated will be used to grow the community, application and support for students. edSeed is expected to be cash flow positive by year 3.

edSeed Financial Summary

Timeline

  • Phase I - Year 1

    • Month 1-2 - private Beta launch for the application in one university with a group of students testing the application.

    • Month 2-6 - Beta launch across four additional universities and two scholarship foundations.

    • Month 7-12 - Onboard all universities in Lebanon, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Iraq

    • Donor outreach - GCC and USA

    • Expand app features to include advanced analytics and premium reporting functionality

    • Improve app APIs and payment methods

  • Phase II - Year 2

    • Quarters 1&2 - Grow the number of universities to include North Africa and select GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council Countries) Universities and 6 scholarship foundation

    • Quarters 3&4 - launch in Europe and the USA with select universities accepting students from the initial target demographic

    • Donor Outreach - Select East Asian countries

    • Grow application recommendation engine and language modules

  • Phase III

    • Expand across universities in the US and Europe

    • Donor outreach - expand to South America

Related solutions

  • We can collaborate with several proposed solutions as follows:

  • edSeed can benefit students utilizing mentoring solutions such as “refugee teach refugee” and “The refugee mentorship network” to gain access to funding.

  • Instructors on proposed eLearning platforms such as “VR-based P2P Learning” can endorse students looking for funding through edSeed.  

  • Since our goal is to fund support for education, we can integrate with practically all other proposed solutions. The timing will depend on our ability to serve their target demographic

  • Collaborate with “The seeding technique” to train mothers on the option and effectiveness of crowd-funding. Mothers can plant the seed at an early stage in their communities and reduce the requirement for ongoing training among the target demographic. We can develop training models that mothers can carry deliver to educate youth in their communities about crowd-funding

  • Collaborate with the solution “Computers in mobile vans” is possible to deliver the training

References

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Solution Summary
EdSeed - social crowdfunding network for education
Team Solution: Only members listed on the Solution's Contributors tab will be able to edit this Solution. Members can request to join the Solution team on the Contributors tab. The Solution owner can open this Solution for anyone to edit using the Admin tab.  
By:  edSeed
Challenge: Learn: Refugee Education
How can we improve learning outcomes for refugee and displaced young people under 24?