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    Date submitted
  • 13-Jan-2016

Tembo Education


Tembo Education educates 0-6 year old children, via text messages.

Tembo sends one activity per day, to parents, via text messages. The parents then educate their children with the activity.

For educating their children, the parents are rewarded with free incentives. In developing nations, those incentives are free minutes and texts for their mobile phone. In developed nations, those incentives are Amazon gift cards.

For parents in developing nations that are illiterate or uneducated, Tembo provides a trained and certified Home Educator to teach the parent how to perform the activity with the child.

For every child educated in America, it allows Tembo to educate more children in developing nations; similarly to TOMS shoes' "1-for-1" model.

Tembo aims to transform early childhood education for the world by making high-quality education more accessible and affordable for millions of children worldwide.

Tembo is published in Forbes Magazine as the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30, supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, & awarded for social impact by the owner of the Boston Red Sox.


Original Vimeo URL: Open

Introduction Video


Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Parents with children ages 0-6. They can be children that are already in school or even children that have no education at all. We benefit children, parents, educators, schools, non-profits, and governments. We not only educate children and parents, but also lift people out of poverty by providing them job opportunities for educators.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

­- 100M children living in slums do not receive an education that appropriately prepares them for the life 1. QUALITY: The schools are typically four walls with little-­to-­no materials. More like drop­-off day­care centers for the parents to free up their time, rather than educational institutions 2. ACCESSIBILITY: Transportation is inconvenient, expensive, & time­-consuming 3. AFFORDABILITY: High quality schools are too expensive for those living in slums -­ 61M Children are currently out ­of­ school globally. Schools are not the answer ­- Current efforts have focused on older ages, even though 90% of the brain is formed by age 5. - They have built schools, developed education products, or provided books. These approaches are antiquated, not scalable, costly, & rely on behavior change instead of leveraging existing behavior/technology - Example of the education gap: over 2.6M Indian children are without education, missing out on 2­3 years of school & are now verging on becoming a lost generation SOURCES: CGI/IXL/Harvard

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

1. QUALITY: Our high quality evidence­-based curriculum is comprised of research-­based activities derived from Harvard’s Developing Child, LEGO, Pearson, and PBS. Overseen by neuroscience PhD's from Harvard, Sesame Street, & UNICEF. 2 ACCESSIBILITY: The reason we use SMS is because over 89% of the world uses it, making it accessible to millions of children, regardless of where they reside. 3. AFFORDABILITY: By delivering our curriculum through the existing distribution channel of telecoms (SMS text messages), we are able to reduce our operating costs, decrease prices, making it more affordable.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

We have first-mover advantage. There are other SMS providers in the market, however, they use poor quality content consisting of parenting tips, rather than an evidence-based curriculum. We have subscribed to their services to see what competitors we had. Fortunately for us, they are poor content providers. They are more like tips, rather than an actual education curriculum. We provide a much higher quality content than current SMS services providers. We have found competitors that do something similar to us, but we have not found a competitor that does exactly what we do. We range from MBAs to PhDs. We have educated children in USA, Nigeria, and the Kibera slums of Kenya. In the past, we have provided education to over 18,000 families in the past 9 years. We already have paying customers across multiple countries. Once schools, governments, and non-profits starting buying Tembo for the parents and children, our numbers dramatically increased serving many more children. We are now ready to scale Tembo to India and the Middle East.