Boston will soon have a new partner in education innovation: some 600 million people from the tip of South America to the United States border. Cengage Learning, an international educational services company, announced Thursday that it will back the expansion of Boston-based LearnLaunch Accelerator to Latin America at Cengage’s innovation lab at the University of Chihuahua in Mexico.
The lab, Laboratorio de Innovacion en Experiencias de Aprendizaje, or LINNEA, was established by Cengage Learning, National Geographic Learning, and the University of Chihuahua. The LearnLaunch Accelerator program provides seed funding and intensive coaching to promising startups.
“The idea here is to begin this dialogue where the entrepreneurs who are doing some innovation in education from the Boston area are going to be able to tap into the Latin American market,” said Fernando Valenzuela, president of Cengage Learning Latin America.
Formed in December 2012, LearnLaunch brings together investors, students, innovators, and educators to support innovation at the intersection of technology and education.
“LearnLaunch is going to have a presence in Latin America and they are going to mentor the entrepreneurs as to how they should adapt their products and their software and their innovation to the Latin American challenges,” said Valenzuela. “And then we are going to basically introduce them to some of the higher level innovation customers in Latin America, and at the same time we are going to identify entrepreneurs in Latin America who could be supported by a structured, accelerated program.”
Cengage Learning is headquartered in Boston and employs over 5,500 employees worldwide. Their services include print and digital textbooks, reference materials, test preparation, and academic materials.
In 2011, they acquired the National Geographic Society’s digital and print school publishing and launched a new brand, National Geographic Learning with their expanded distribution rights to NGS content. Cengage also partnered with LearnLaunch in January 2015 in order to invest in the LearnLaunch Accelerator program.