On Thursday evening, April 16, 224 people convened to witness the future of education as 4 Lean Lab fellows and 8 community education innovators pitched their solutions to impact Kansas City students and teachers.
Keynote speaker and judge, Alicia Herald, kicked off the event with the story of her own journey starting myEDmatch: "Entrepreneurship is hard. But if you delve into social innovation that is the hardest...but most rewarding experience," Herald stressed in her opening. And indeed, the 4 Lean Lab innovations that made it to demo day were competing for $1,133 in profits from ticket sales as well as a robust in-kind prize package valued at over $20,000 - all while striving to make an impact on over 500 students in just 5 years.
Their journey to this night had taken them from an intensive 4.5 weeks in The Lean Lab's 2014 Incubator Fellowship, through 8 months of piloting, testing, and iteration, to Narrative, where they were not only competing for crowd votes, but for the highest scores from an esteemed panel of judges: Herb Sih of Think Big Partners, Aaron North of the Kauffman Foundation, Jon Hile of Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors, and keynote speaker and founder/CEO of myEDmatch, Alicia Herald. Lean Lab pitches included:
At the end of the evening, both the crowd and the judges had spoken: ELL Teacher Archive, a toolkit to transition immigrant and refugee students to the correct classrooms, took home not only the audience award, but the judges' award for its creativity & innovation as well as focus on student impact. Aditya Voleti, the founder, won $1,133 in a cash award, as well as an in-kind package consisting of:
The Lean Lab's next cohort for its 2015 Incubator Fellowship will take place June 17 - July 17 and applications are open until May 1.