Press Releases

Press release: ProFuturo and Wayra call for innovative projects targeting vulnerable environments

For the second year in a row, ProFuturo and Wayra —the Telefónica Open Innovation Hub—, have put out a worldwide call in search of innovative projects to contribute to tackling the technological and educational challenges that ProFuturo faces in the vulnerable environments where it operates. Open until 30 September, this call will assess project aspects such as the social and educational impact, the degree of innovation involved and the project’s sustainability and scalability capacity. Sixty-five candidate projects from 13 countries were received in last year’s call. Of the three winning startups, two have piloted their projects in schools where the Telefónica Foundation and “la Caixa” Foundation programme is being implemented.

Click here to access the call

The ProFuturo Digital Education Programme is being implemented in vulnerable environments where schools often have no energy or internet connectivity. On top of these infrastructural constraints must be added the lack of technological resources (routers, computers, tablets) and quality educational content, as well as the relatively poor pedagogical preparation of the teachers who are often founding wanting in the teaching and digital skills required to bring technology to the classroom.

Enterprising individuals and startups presenting projects in the call must meet these and other challenges. Specifically, we are looking for projects that offer energy access and connectivity solutions to equip the schools with quality educational and digital resources; or projects that apply Artificial Intelligence to education to personalise teaching and improve learning results using analytics learning tools.

Close date: 30 September

Candidates can submit their projects until 30 September. An assessment process will select ten projects the owners of which will have to defend their initiative in person before a selection committee. Aspects such as the social and educational impact of the project, its level of innovation, how scalable and self-sustainable it is, the experience and skills of the project team and the potential the project has to improve ProFuturo’s education proposal, will be assessed.

Up to three startups will be selected and offered a workspace in one of Wayra Innovation Hubs, where they will received speed-up and mentoring support for six months from ProFuturo to mature their project. Subsequently, a collaboration plan will be studied regarding project sustainability, and the possibility of conducting a pilot test in one of the schools where ProFuturo operates will be assessed.

Trial runs in Mexico, Kenya and Brazil

This is the second time ProFuturo and Wayra have put out a call for projects. Sixty-five candidate projects were received from 13 countries last year. Of the three winning startups, two have piloted their projects in schools where the Telefónica Foundation and “la Caixa” Foundation programme is being implemented.

Cerebriti, the Spanish startup that introduces gamification into the classroom to enable teachers and students to create and share their own games, thereby boosting creativity and fostering teamwork, have tried out their project in five schools in Mexico with primary-school students from 4th to 6th class. Meanwhile, the British firm Eedi has piloted its assessment solution in five schools in Kenya. This project makes it possible to measure student levels and detect learning weaknesses and confusing concepts by means of digital questionnaires.

The Portuguese startup, Ubbu, has created a platform that enables teachers and students alike to take the first steps in computational thinking and digital literacy and programming. This platform is to be piloted in Manaus (Brazil) in 1st to 6th classes in 14 primary schools.