Frequently asked questions

Please see the questions and answers below to learn more about the Education Innovation Awards and Theirworld.

And don’t forget to register for the introductory workshops now.

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About the Education Innovation Awards

What are Theirworld’s Education Innovation Awards?

The Education Innovation Awards support pilot-stage grantees to make their innovations scale-ready, by building their skills and capacity through introductory classes, masterclasses, mentoring and scale-ready grants. We are currently recruiting for the third cohort of the Awards, following an outstanding first cohort in 2021-2022 and our current second cohort (2023-2024).

How does the Education Innovation Awards application process work? / How do I apply?

First, register for our free, online scale-readiness workshops. You can participate live, or watch the recording later. ONLY registered attendees will receive the link to apply.

After the workshops you will receive a link to the online application form. You must register for the workshops, in order to get the application form for the Awards. We will prioritise applications from teams who have attended both workshops.

This form should take around one hour to complete, and you will be asked to accept our privacy policy and terms and conditions (including a safeguarding policy). You will also be asked to submit a detailed budget and supporting documentation including your latest Annual Report and audited accounts

Who can apply? / What are the eligibility criteria?

To see the full list of eligibility criteria, click here.

I don’t meet the above criteria; should I still apply?

You are still welcome to register for the online introductory workshops, and to join our education innovation mailing list [here] to stay in touch. We will let you know via the mailing list if future opportunities arise.

Meanwhile, if you know someone else who would be a good fit, please share the opportunity with them!

How does the selection process work?

Once applications have closed, a Theirworld selection panel will evaluate the eligible applications They will use the eligibility criteria and programme objectives to select the Award winners, which will be approved by Theirworld Trustees.

What is the timeline of the Education Innovation Awards?

The Theirworld Education Innovation Awards will run from October 2023 to October 2024. This period is broken down into stages:

1. Introductory Workshops: : Tuesday 27 and Thursday 29 June, 0900-1100 BST

2. Applications open: 1-31 July 2023

3. Winners informed: September 2023

4. Winners’ programme begins: October or November 2023

a. 3-day scaleup workshop, exact dates to be confirmed.

b. Regular (at least quarterly) mentoring and review sessions between October 2023 and October 2024, designed especially for your team

c. 1-day presentation and learning event (October/November 2024)

During this 12-month period, the Award winners will receive scale-ready grants of up to £50,000 each. In parallel with this programme, Awards winners will be actively implementing their scaleup plans.

What will I/my team/organisation learn from the programme?

The masterclasses and bespoke mentoring will set your innovation up for a successful scaleup through capacity and skills building.

The masterclasses are intensive workshops to prepare your team to create and deliver a strong, thoughtful and focused scaleup strategy, providing an in-depth understanding of organisational development, stress-testing solutions, partnerships and other core building blocks for successful scaleup.

The masterclasses will be complemented by one-to-one mentoring for each team, designed according to the team’s needs.

What will I get out of the Introductory Workshops?

The workshops contain valuable information and tools to help you prepare your innovation for scale. They also help you assess whether you are interested in, and ready for, the Innovation Awards support programme, and will help you complete the application form. We offer the Introductory Workshops to share our scaleup support with as many organisations as possible.

Overall, participants rated their enjoyment of the workshops highly: 96% of participants in our last introductory workshops ranked them workshops as “great”. Some of the participants’ feedback is below:

The workshops were invaluable. They provided a really helpful guide to what type of projects the award is looking to support. It was really useful to be provided with the opportunity to ask individual questions about our eligibility, and made it clear in our mind how to approach writing the application. The scale exercises also really helped our team to identify where we are in our scaling journey currently, and where it is that we would like to get to.” – Applicant feedback, Cohort 2

The workshops helped us to be more thoughtful and strategic as we plan for scale. The content we learned in workshop 1 helped us to create our scale vision and map a scale route. We discussed the barriers and how we plan to mitigate obstacles to our scaling. Workshop 2 helped us think through gaps in our solution’s readiness for scale and how we could best invest this grant.” – Applicant feedback, Cohort 2

It was a great introduction to the concept and process of scaling, including clear explanations of technical vocabulary, enabling us to think about different elements involved in scaling up and potential paths to scale.” – Applicant feedback, Cohort 2


What can we spend the £50,000 grant on?

Theirworld aims to award the scale-ready grants to non-profits looking to scale up their promising pilot-stage innovations and reach their full potential.

The scale-ready grants must go towards getting the winning innovation ready to grow, and the costs directly associated with increasing the reach of this project.

The costs will differ between organisations, but during the application process and scaleup strategy you will be asked to define what your organisation would like to spend the scale-ready grant on.

You will submit a budget outline when you apply, and you can also change this during the process and with our experts’ guidance.

Why should I apply for these Awards?

In our first cohort we supported five organisations to prepare for scale. Overwhelmingly, innovation teams and leadership at these organisations enjoyed and learned from the programme. One year after the programme began, all teams were on track to meet their scaling goals.

Organisations we work with highly value our collaborative approach, flexibility and our shared purpose.

We believe these Awards help to fill a global gap in support and financing, that is holding back big change in education. We want to unleash your potential and help you grow.

What makes these Awards different from other accelerators and grants?

1. Theirworld’s Education Innovation Awards are specifically targeted at non-profits planning to scale up a pilot innovation. Our masterclass and mentoring programme is highly customised to this stage and will be adapted to the needs of the Awards winners. There is a global gap in support and opportunities at this stage in the education sector, and we aim to be part of solving that problem.

2. We offer a £50,000 grant and will never request any kind of equity in your organisation.

3. If possible, Theirworld will support your fundraising efforts after the programme ends


How will this programme help me to secure future scale-up funding?

We see these Innovation Awards winners as a critical investment in your scaling journey and the future impact that the innovation can have.

Through being involved in this programme, Awards winners will benefit from exposure via Theirworld’s public communications and internal networks. Award Winners will also have the opportunity to present their innovations and scaleup plans to an audience of supporters and potential funders at the end of the programme.

When you graduate from the masterclasses and mentoring, you will have a clear case for fundraising to grow your innovation.

How does the mentoring work?

Our scaleup expert and a monitoring and evaluation specialist will be your main mentors and will work with you regularly to review how your plans are progressing and identify further support needs. Where you need specialised support in particular areas, we will explore how any of the members of the Theirworld and Global Business Coalition for Education networks might be able to help us support you. We will guide you to get the most out of the mentoring opportunity and ensure high quality.

Do I have to be physically based in one of the priority countries?

While projects can come from any country, we will prioritise applications that have impact in, or intend to scale to, one or more countries where we have existing projects (see map:

We prioritise applications from Community Led Organisations. A Community Led Organisation is:
• Registered in the country of activity
• Staffed mainly by people who are citizens of, or living in, the country of activity
• Governed by a Board made up of members who are citizens of, or living in, the country of activity

How will the masterclasses and mentoring be delivered?

Most of the programme will be delivered online. If logistics and budgets permit, we will explore ways to bring the cohort and mentors together in person.

Who can I contact if I have any further questions?

If you have any questions about the Awards or the application, you can reach out to Theirworld’s Innovation Team at [email protected].