Convincing a company to take a step like this can be a challenge, so it's better when entrepreneurs have a sense of social responsibility from the beginning. But what do you do to make an idea stand out, especially when you lack access to technology and funding?
How unique ideas can push pour brand further: The Bridge International Academies case
As we discussed previously in an article on the Shared Value Leadership Summit, the support businesses can provide to good causes can be a powerful force for change.
This setback is what Bridge International Academies, an international organisation dedicated to improving school performance in underserved communities, had to face. However, the company found that through careful data collection, business planning, and smart use of technology, they could gain the support of the most important educational funds in the world.
Presenting a Unique Solution to an Age Old Problem
As the IFC noted in a report, despite the limited resources of most Bridge students, Bridge enables them to have access to top quality education. Their teachers are also provided with hardware like tablets that allow them to deliver more engaging lessons.
This hardware serves multiple purposes, and is also intended to monitor lesson progress and assessment scores, among other variables. Bridge leverages this data to create ever-improving pedagogy, which has earned them numerous accolades and financial support from multiple organisations.
Equal Access to Education
One of Bridge’s most impressive outcomes is how their students manage to consistently outscore those from other schools, regardless of their social or economic background. Bridge achieves this by both offering assistance to government-controlled schools with performance issues, and also assisting private institutions through partnerships.
As reported by NewsAnyway, Bridge efforts have attracted the attention of important investors like the World Bank's IFC. Bridge’s social impact has earned them approximately more than $140 million in funds, with more likely to come as results improve.
Collecting Data with the Help of Local Talent
Randomised controlled trials are necessary to analyse the effectiveness of teaching methods. But according to former Bridge chief academic officer Mike Goldstein, hiring local individuals who understand the challenges people face there to gather data directly from teachers is just as important.
This practice provides insights that inform the data analysis process, ensuring that the right changes are made. As a result, the marketing department ends up having access to multiple indicators of progress and insights from satisfied teachers.
Outstanding Results in African Countries
Bridge students have managed to place themselves amongst the top scorers in national examinations in nearly every Bridge location. The secret? Providing students with the right materials and assistance.
Many of Bridge International Academies students attribute their success to the experience of teachers, which has allowed students to find a renewed interest in Math and Science. Other students have reported the use of the additional materials that were provided in preparation for the exam. It also helps that the location of the school itself allows students to spend less time walking to school, and more time studying.
Developing a brand that works in underserved communities is not an easy task. However, through hard work and data-driven improvements, the results start speaking for themselves. As the Bridge case shows, there's no combination more powerful than that of a unique solution coupled with data-driven programs and ever-evolving plans for success. Brands that want to achieve the same success would do well to follow in their footsteps.
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