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Bridge International Academies

Bridge International Academies proves that a world-class education can be delivered at a low-cost.


 Investee Bridge International Academies, founded 2008
 Location Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, Africa; India, Asia
 Sector Education 
 Funding Start 2009
 Funding type Equity




Across Sub-Saharan Africa, over 30% of primary school-age children are unable to attend or complete school due to few available schools and relatively unaffordable related costs of education. Limited funding, teacher shortages, ineffective teaching methods and the lack of accountability further impede delivery of quality education in available schools. Seeing their children progress through primary school with no commensurate learning gains, communities took education into their own hands, developing low-cost private schools. In Lagos, Nigeria, 90% of pre-primary children and 60% of primary school children attend informal, low-cost private schools. While low-cost private schools can address issues of teaching quality and accountability, their stand-alone nature limits their ability to invest in the research and development needed to radically increase learning outcomes for children.


  • Set up as a social enterprise, Bridge International Academies (Bridge) developed a scalable model that allowed it to focus on learning but could be implemented at a low-cost.
  • Bridge’s centralised platform manages the construction, operations and academic content of the schools, while recruiting and training local leaders to manage and teach children at a fraction of the cost of most other public and private schools.
  • Bridge schools provide basic primary education that emphasizes life-improving literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills, at an average cost of $70 per pupil, per year.

Impact depth

Since opening its first school in 2009, Bridge has educated over 100,000 children from five countries across Africa and Asia. Independently conducted early grade reading and mathematics assessments, and the results of national primary exit exams in Kenya show statistically significant learning gains for Bridge children compared to their peers in neighbouring schools. Already Bridge graduates have gone on to some of the best high schools in Kenya and the United States.

BIA focuses on:

  • Affordability of quality education: Bridge’s operating costs are significantly lower than the average per child annual education spend in most sub-Saharan countries, and are affordable to 90% of families in the communities where Bridge operates low-cost private schools.
  • Quality of education: Bridge pupils significantly increase their reading and math skills*. Over the course of 26 months, Bridge students were found to learn 32% more in English and 13% more in mathematics than their peers in neighbouring schools.
  • Students’ ability to shape their own future: Bridge schools have a zero tolerance policy to corporal punishment and encourage inquiry and leadership in the classroom. As a result Bridge students have better cognitive and soft skills, which gives them more options to shape their own future. The outlook for a more prosperous future empowers them, their families and communities.
Impact Reach 2009 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
# of schools (total) 2 260 410 414 520 580
# of pupils enrolled 590 80'000 120'000 76'019 90'680 100‘718
# of teaching staff 10 2'300 4'720 4'529 5'415 5'096
# of countries 1 1 1 3 5 5



By investing in Bridge International Academies, we align with and contribute to four of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


Economist Innovation Awards

WISE Award

Goldman Sachs Builders + Innovators

Development Impact Award

15 Women changing the world in

Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

The CNBC Next List (Rebels, leaders, and innovators ahead of their time)

Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship