IDB Lab invests in a Colombian start-up to teach English to manual workers


Initiative seeks better employment opportunities for vulnerable populations

IDB Lab, the innovation lab of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will provide financial support to Slang, the Colombian educational technology startup based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, to teach English to workers manuals. This investment, valued at $1 million, will support students entering the job market, provide skills training and provide opportunities for young, blue-collar and unemployed populations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Professionals who speak English have more job options and can earn more income. Yet three out of four young people in our region say they do not speak it fluently, according to the results of the Millenials survey conducted by the IDB. This particularly 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 is 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 needed to enter the job market, 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, 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, care. healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, offering specialist courses on roles within these sectors and on topics relevant to 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 the IDB Lab

IDB Lab is the IDB Group’s innovation lab, the main source of development finance and know-how to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). IDB Lab’s goal is to drive innovation for inclusion in the region, mobilizing funding, knowledge and connections to test early-stage solutions that can transform the lives of vulnerable populations affected by economic, social and/or environmental factors. Since 1993, IDB Lab has approved over $2 billion worth of projects deployed in 26 LAC countries.

About slang

Slang is an English learning platform specializing in professional and technical courses. Its modular technology allows the creation of dynamic and optimized learning paths, according to the needs of each user, service or organization, guaranteeing a hyper-personalized experience. For more information about the company, visit


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