Bristol-based Learn.ink, which has developed a mobile training platform for smartphone users in emerging economies, has revamped its growth and IP strategies and secured £20,000 in grant funding with Innovate UK EDGE support.
A Bristol-based innovator is helping international organisations operating in emerging economies to create interactive, fun mobile training for people with limited IT expertise.
Learn.ink’s online training platform has been specifically designed to help organisations address the challenges and opportunities that are presented by the rapid increase in smartphone use in more remote communities.
“My co-founder and I spent a lot of time in East Africa researching the training options available,” says Georgia Barrie, CEO, Learn.ink.
“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.”
Learn.ink 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 done even 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 2 years since its launch, Learn.ink has been used by over 100 organisations in 35 countries across the globe.
In 2021, Georgia was 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.”
The Innovate UK EDGE mentoring and support element of the award was delivered by Innovation and Growth Specialist, Stephanie Fox. Stephanie worked with Georgia to develop a detailed plan for the company’s growth strategy, focusing particularly on identifying new grant funding opportunities and the management and exploitation of the company’s Intellectual Property (IP).
“Steph’s been a great sounding board, she’s connected us to some brilliant specialists and her positivity and enthusiasm has been really valuable to me”
Strategic funding support
Early on in the support, Steph introduced Innovate UK EDGE Funding Specialist, Adele Reynolds, who helped Learn.ink identify a range of funding strategies and sources.
“Adele 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,” says Georgia.
With Adele’s support, Learn.ink applied for the West of England Growth Hub’s Business Innovation Fund and were successful in securing a £20,000 grant.
“Adele provided some fantastic coaching and feedback on our grant application, helping us to maximise our chances of success – she was amazing to work with.”
Developing an IP strategy
Innovate UK EDGE IP specialist, Kate Butler, was also 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, 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.
Steph’s been a great sounding board, she’s connected us to some brilliant specialists and her positivity and enthusiasm has been really valuable to me”