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IDB Lab Invests in Colombian Startup to Teach English to Manual Workers

The initiative seeks better job opportunities for vulnerable populations

IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will provide financial support to Slang, the Colombian educational technology startup that is based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, to teach English to manual workers. This investment, worth $1 million, will support students entering the labor market, provide job training, and present opportunities for youth, blue-collar workers, and the unemployed populations of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Professionals who speak English have greater employment options and can earn more income. However, three out of four young people in our region say they do not speak it fluently, according to the results of the Milenials survey conducted by the IDB. This especially, affects those who cannot afford high-level English courses, due to the high cost, which limits their career options, and therefore, their economic mobility.

In Colombia, the number of young people who neither work nor study, amounts to more than 580,000 and are concentrated in the main cities of the country such as Bogotá, Medellín, or Cali. Many of them have little work experience, low levels of education, and have not developed many of the skills necessary to integrate into the workforce, including knowing how to speak English.

IDB Lab’s investment will allow the Slang platform to expand to other countries in the region and offer practical and low-cost courses specifically targeting workers who perform manual labor. Its methodology, based on machine-learning, facilitates a personalized and specialized English learning process for workers in eight sectors: financial services, consumer goods, transport and logistics, education, technology and design, manufacturing, health care, and the pharmaceutical industry, offering specialized courses on roles within these sectors and on topics consistent with each area of interest.

The platform is centralized in the LAC market and currently has more than 70 institutional clients from countries such as Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, and Brazil, among others.

About IDB Lab

IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, the leading source of development finance and know-how for improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).The purpose of IDB Lab is to drive innovation for inclusion in the region, by mobilizing financing, knowledge, and connections to test early-stage solutions with the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable populations affected by economic, social, and/or environmental factors. Since 1993 IDB Lab has approved more than US$ 2 billion in projects deployed across 26 LAC countries.

About Slang

Slang is an English learning platform specializing in professional and technical courses. Its modular technology allows for the creation of dynamic and optimized learning routes, depending on the needs of each user, department, or organization, ensuring a hyper personalized experience. For more information about the company, visit


Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador

Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador
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