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The Circle Incubation Program

place India

Reinventing India, School by School

To harness India’s demographic dividend, we must reinvent our obsolete education system. The Circle Incubation establishes innovative schools and after-school programs, which then multiply their impact country-wide. Led by entrepreneurs incubated by The Circle, these institutions act as lighthouses for reform, helping young people access greater opportunities.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
May 2024
We reinvent the idea of school as well as teaching and learning by infusing the system with schools and programs that are examples of a reinvented education. Our portfolio of schools and programs serve as lighthouses for the country’s education system. We equip them to scale, building a multiplicative network of networks undergirded by a learning infrastructure and robust support system.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

India’s fastest growing young population is at a precipice - it can make catalytic leaps, or be beleaguered by depressed potential. Our education system is failing, inaccessible, and obsolete. We need to reinvent education, create access to opportunities and bring down educational inequity. We simply don’t have enough schools, programs and their leaders doing so effectively.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

It is an 18-month program teaching entrepreneurs to design, launch, and run their programs that includes curated school visits, workshops facilitated by experts, rooted in a unique curriculum designed after extensive research including interviews with founders, network leaders, and educators. Modules range from School Vision and Curriculum to Teacher Development and Culture. They then implement these learnings, building schools and after-school programs. Each program is committed to equity, their community, measurable results ,and a holistic vision of education. We have launched twenty-one schools and after-school programs across India. Akash is building a chain of affordable experiential schools in tier 3 towns. Shoeb launched community centres across Pune that bridge learning gaps and empower children to solve real-world problems. Shriya launched Sitara Akka, a blended model rooted in localized community support coupled with bots to help children realize anytime-anywhere learning.

How has it been spreading?

~500 candidates have applied to be a part of the Incubation. We have launched twenty-one schools and after-school programs across India. 54 facilitators, 22 coaches and 44 network partners have supported our entrepreneurs to conduct 20+ pilots and raise over 100 million INR in funds. The Circle has also disseminated our best practices and insights to 8,500 educators across the country. Cumulatively, we’ve reached 10,000+ students across our programs. In the next 2-3 years, the Circle Incubation Program will launch 30 schools and after-schools across India, each serving students from low-income communities, of which 25 models showcase positive learning outcomes with the children they are serving through their reinvented curricula and pedagogy, and collectively impact 12000 children.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The Circle Incubation is a cohort-based program that opens its applications every year. Interested candidates can apply during the recruitment period and speak to the Circle team to develop their model further, learn about the program, and find the right fit. We are open to partnering with countries interested in replicating. You can reach out to us at

Implementation steps

The Circle Sandbox
Once you've gone through the Incubation application process, the first step is to implement a 6-week pilot that tests your theory of problem and theory of change. The program supports you in the form of virtual masterclasses, coaching, and field visits. Upon successfully completing this process, you are formally inducted into the Incubation cohort
Design Process
The Circle design process is a 5-step journey journey to take entrepreneurs' ideas from concept to reality. It includes Seek (school visits, shadowing, interviews, research), Spark(ideation, sketching, role playing, analogous explorations), Share(engage community, feedback from mentors, participatory design, launch prototypes), Seed(exploring storytelling skills and methods, pitches to investors), and Spiral(refining, adding
evidence from prototypes and pilots, strengthening your vision)
Organisation Launch
This phase involves building a financial and impact model, school leadership design and hiring, operational structure, staff recruitment, community mobilisation, training and development, pre-launch pilot, and fundraising.
Joining The Network
At the end of 18 months the Entrepreneurs join The Circle Network of reinvented schools and after schools. The Network offers a continuous platform for low touch differentiated support and network learnings.

Spread of the innovation

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