Education entrepreneur–and former lawyer– Mirta Desir knows that the first 2,000 days of a child’s life is a critical development period, and learning two languages from birth has a significant impact on the future. When she became pregnant with her daughter, Desir knew that learning a second language was a must. She then created her own platform, Smart Coos, because none of the products on the market offered up exactly what she wanted.
Smart Coos is a language immersion platform that makes becoming multilingual more natural for children. It’s the first ever language learning platform for newborns through age eight that provides a personal language teacher.
Desir is joined by college classmate and friend Harold Jean-Louis, who handles finances and marketing for the startup, and Graziella Gandolfi, who is the director of communications and a Spanish language guide.
The startup brings non-native language acquisition resources to parents to help them develop and maintain the language through sign language, infant-directed-speech, and books and stories while providing a safe community for parents and caregivers to support and maintain the development for their children.
Smart Coos participated in the New Orleans-based Launch Program with 4.0 Schools, which they initially heard about through an advertisement in EdSurge. Desir said the program seemed like the perfect opportunity to test the Smart Coos method with their target market and age group.
“Launch was very receptive to the concept of exceptionally early exposure to a second language and its impact on a child’s performance in education and life –for us that was exactly the type of nurturing environment we needed,” continued Desir.
After several rounds of beta testing during the time working with 4.0 Schools, Smart Coos did a soft launch a few weeks ago. The company has been experiencing daily growth since the launch. Additionally, they are partnering with schools to launch a program to combat learning loss that occurs in students during the summer time.
Smart Coos will officially launch on July 3rd during a pitch in The Big Break Power Pitch on the Centerstage at the the 2015 ESSENCE Festival as part of PowerMoves.NOLA, a national conference created to give minority entrepreneurs the opportunity to introduce their products.
“New Orleans over the past few years has been progressive in encouraging companies to establish themselves here to stimulate the education market,” said Desir when asked if Smart Coos will remain in New Orleans. “My team and I are happy with the networks we have established here for the past year we have been here. We haven’t decided where our final destination will be but New Orleans is definitely on the list.”
In the next six months, the team expects to be piloting the program in schools and daycare centers. They will also start a sponsorship program where Smart Coos will partner with corporations interested in the mission of providing the platform to low-income communities at a minimal cost.