The IQ Collective – Connecting Education

IQ Collective

The IQ Collective is transforming the way school leaders in developing countries connect around the globe to access the best education solutions for their students. Schools want to stay apprised of the best solutions for their students so they can stay on the leading edge of affordable private school education. On the flip side, new products and services are being created that will improve developing world education. However, these providers often struggle in accessing this hard-to-reach market. The IQ Collective’s specialized online platform is solving a huge problem by filling the void.

Co-founders Molly McMahon and Andrea Bouch are the superstar team behind the IQ Collective; they have the perfect mix of on-the-ground experience and social business chops. Molly has been working in developing countries for over 15 years, having launched successful education start-ups in India, including Grey Matters Capital’s school rating system and the Enterprising Schools network. To the table, Andrea brings a passion for social entrepreneurship, experience at both Google and Kiva, and an MBA in International Development And NGO Management from the University of Geneva International Organizations MBA Program (IOMBA).

 

Mr Mustaq

The seeds of the IQ Collective idea were planted throughout Molly’s time working in India where she built personal relationships with school leaders of affordable private schools. She later returned to the Bay Area and within a short two-month time frame, her Facebook inbox was experiencing a flurry of activity. The school leaders she worked with abroad were suddenly all coming online and asking Molly a ton of questions.

As it turns out, the affordable private school market in both India and Kenya (the IQ Collective’s primary markets) is very competitive. School leaders are eager to access the newest and best school resources for their students.

School leaders knew Molly was a leader in education initiatives in developing countries and they wanted her opinion – What resources are out there and available for my school to use? What are other schools doing? How can I improve the education opportunities for my students? It couldn’t be denied; there was a huge need and opportunity to develop a solution for this growing market of connecting school leaders to the answers they seeked.

Molly and Andrea discussed the idea back and forth but the project really took off when Andrea made a last minute decision to take a leap of faith and join Molly in India to pilot the project. The project was piloted in 2012 in both India and Kenya.

Outsiders were skeptical that a technology solution could be introduced effectively to solve this need. Andrea and Molly devised an ingenious way to test their hunch for a solution that would connect school leaders to each other and the service providers they needed to deliver the best education opportunities for their students. They met one-on-one with school leaders, teachers, students, and parents. These groups’ level of comfort with the new technology was tested using a prototype of the platform and low-cost cell phones.

 

Mr Barassa with students

Andrea and Molly knew that leaders were already on Facebook but would they be willing to use a new platform? The response from the communities was encouraging, with kids and parents adapting quickly to the new technology. For further insight, the kids were asked to take pictures around their school of the items that they were most proud of. Across all schools, the prominent pictures were of their school leader and any computers or tech equipment the school had on site, even if it wasn’t functional!

Equally as exciting as the enthusiasm from communities, is that the platform is now a reality. The private beta platform is currently open to a select group of schools and service providers to use and test over the coming months. The IQ Collective plans to open up the platform to a wider spectrum of users in early 2014.

The IQ Collective has huge upside potential to deliver both social impact and sustainable financial returns. Of course, the greatest social impact is providing school leaders access to the crucial connections and information they need. On the flip side, the IQ Collective provides un-matched value to the service providers who are selling products to this $6 billion affordable private school market in India and Kenya.

IQ Collective provides service providers with access to the market, quick prototyping and testing opportunities to refine the companies’ products, and eventually a distribution network – all crucial components in the success of these businesses. As the IQ Collective evolves and responds to its users, an exact monetization strategy will be confirmed. But, where value like this is created there is sure to be sustainable financial returns.

IQ Collective truly embodies the Market Connector social enterprise business model. As they meet the needs of schools in developing countries to improve education, they are developing a marketplace where school leaders and service providers can connect with each other. theSedge.org is excited to see how the IQ Collective community grows and continues transforming developing world education through meaningful connections.

To see what the IQ collective is up to right now, visit them at www.theiqcollective.com. If you liked this article, please leave a comment below.

 

 

Comments are closed.