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Frequently asked questions

About the Education Innovation Scale-Up Awards

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

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

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What are Theirworld’s Education Innovation Scale-Up Awards?

The Education Innovation Scale-Up Awards support organisations to make their innovations scale-ready, by building their skills and capacity through introductory classes, masterclasses, mentoring and grants support. We are currently recruiting for the second cohort of the Awards, following a successful first cohort in 2021-2022.

How does the Education Innovation Scale-Up 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.

After the workshops, you will receive a link to the online application form. ONLY registered attendees will receive the link to apply. We will prioritise applications from teams who have attended both workshops.

The application form should take around one hour to complete. You will need to agree to our privacy policy and terms and conditions (including a safeguarding policy). You will also be asked to submit a detailed budget form, a two-minute video and supporting documentation including your latest audited accounts.

Click here to register for the introductory workshops.

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.

How does the selection process work?

Once applications have closed, a selection panel will evaluate the eligible applications. They will use the eligibility criteria and programme objectives to recommend Award winners for approval by the Theirworld Trustees.

What is the timeline of the Education Innovation Scale-Up Awards?

The Theirworld Education Innovation Scale-Up Awards will run from May 2023 to May 2024. This period is broken down into four stages:

1. Introductory workshops: 23 and 28 February 2023

2. Applications: 1-24 March 2023

3. Winners informed: between 6-11 April 2023

The winners’ programme begins June 2023. Key programme dates are:

a. Three days of scale-up masterclass workshops, between 14-25 June 2023

b. Regular (at least quarterly) mentoring and review sessions between May 2023 and May 2024

c. A one-day presentation and learning event, in May or June 2024.

During this 12-month period, the Award winners will receive grants of up to £80,000 each. In parallel with this programme, Awards winners will continue actively implementing their scale-up plans.

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

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

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

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

What can we spend the £80,000 grant on?

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

For more information view the full eligibility criteria.

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. 100% of participants learned something new and would recommend the programme to other organisations. 97% of survey responses rated masterclasses “good”, “very good” or “great”. Best of all: one year after the programme began, all teams were on track to meet their scaling goals.

What previous winners have valued most:

1. Carving out time. Our programme will help you step outside the daily whirlwind and take time to reflect and plan ahead, supported by high-quality technical experts and mentors.

2. Developing your team. The masterclasses and mentoring, and the tools that accompany them, will build your team’s knowledge and skills.

3. Investment. The scale-ready grant is designed to help you develop your pilot, invest in evaluation and complete other activities to prepare for scale-up.

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 Scale-Up 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 an £80,000 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 Scale-Up Awards as a critical investment in your scaling journey and the future impact that the innovation can have.

Through being involved in this programme, Award 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 scale-up 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 scale-up 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].