Replication Is Connovo’s Innovation for Improving Education in Mexico
David Bank - ImpactAlpha
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October 11, 2017

Rebel Education: How a school with a rigorous curriculum for children as young as two makes a world of difference to Mexican students. (Al Jazeera English)

When a child in Mexico gets a head start at a high-quality, company-funded preschool, parents aren’t likely to care that the model for the Hipocampus learning centers has been borrowed from India.

“We believe if you do social enterprise, you are here to solve problems. It doesn’t matter if it’s your idea,” says Nicolas Demeilliers, co-founder of Connovo, the Mexican “replicator” that brought Hipocampus to Mexico and plans to scale it to 100 sites in five years.

In a sector that worships “innovation,” Connovo’s new idea is that for many challenges, solutions already exist. The trick is to scale what works with management talent, mentoring, financing and shared business services. Connovo is structured as a holding company that both owns equity in its portfolio companies and provides hands-on operational help.

The company intends to build and replicate a half-dozen impact ventures focused on education, in line with Sustainable Development Goal #4 (“Ensure inclusive and quality education for all”).

Already, in addition to Hipocampus, Connovo has brought Esoko, a mobile information platform for farmers developed in Africa, to Mexico. The service, which connects farmers to the agricultural value-chain, reaches 7,000 farmers, including some who supply barley to the makers of Corona beer.

Hola Code, built with the U.S. training compancy Hack Reactor, focuses on skilling up Mexicans deported from the U.S. to meet the countries shortage of skilled programmers. Refugees in Jordan had already successfully completed the training. “We knew that if they managed to replicate this in Jordan, it should be replicated in Mexico,” Demeillers said.

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