Bristol innovator Learn.ink has been awarded a £20,000 grant by the West of England Growth Hub’s Business Innovation Fund to grow its mobile training platform for people in emerging economies.
Learn.ink’s training platform helps organisations to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid increase in smartphone use in more remote communities.
Georgia Barrie, CEO at Learn.ink, said: “My co-founder and I spent a lot of time in East Africa researching the training options available. We found that most tools assume you have access to a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection and are familiar with navigating complicated interfaces and reading long sections of prose.
"Unfortunately, this kind of technology is completely inaccessible to most of the world’s population.”
The Learn.ink team developed a chat-style interface – instantly familiar to most smartphone users – with games, challenges, quizzes and sound effects that combine to make the learning experience fun and engaging. By creating features such as “offline mode” they also ensure training can be carried out in areas without an internet connection.
Organisations can create microlearning courses with ease and view analytics dashboards to monitor learning progress.
Georgia shares just one example of where the platform has been successfully used in Kenya: “Solar is one of the fastest growing industries in Kenya and solar providers typically need to train large, remote teams of sales agents to install solar panels in off-grid communities.”
“With Learn.ink, these companies can train thousands of agents across the country in a matter of days and track all of the learning outcomes in real time.”
In the two years since its launch, Learn.ink has been used by over 100 organisations in 35 countries across the globe.
The company’s Business Innovation Fund grant application was supported by Innovate UK EDGE Funding Specialist Adele Reynolds, who helped Learn.ink identify a suitable funding route and provided critical appraisal of their application.
“Adele was amazing to work with,” Georgia said. “She recommended some regional and sector-based opportunities that I didn't know existed and are quite hard to come across unless you're reading all the right newsletters.
“Once we’d settled on the Business Innovation Fund, Adelle provided some fantastic coaching and feedback on our grant application, helping us to maximise our chances of success.”
The £20,000 grant will be used to scale the Learn.ink platform, providing affordable and accessible training for remote workforces in the developing world.
Georgia has previously been awarded Innovate UK’s prestigious Women in Innovation Award, which included a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring and growth support from Innovate UK EDGE.
“Before the award I didn’t really know any other female entrepreneurs,” says Georgia. “But I’m now part of a cohort of 40 women all on very similar journeys.”
“It’s been great to support and advise each other, share successes, and even learn from each other’s mistakes.”
As part of the mentoring and support element of the award, Innovate UK EDGE IP Specialist, Kate Butler, was introduced to help Learn.ink define and achieve its strategic IP goals.
“Kate gave us some really valuable guidance on what we should be prioritising in terms of IP,” says Georgia, “it was great to have an objective take on this.”
Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support as this Bristol innovator transforms learning experiences and career prospects for smartphone users across the world.