Social enterprise promotes benefits of language learning

Startups and spinouts
 
01 Apr 2022

More people around the world are set to be supported and encouraged to speak more than one language thanks to a new social enterprise launched with Edinburgh Innovations' support.

Bilingualism Matters is launching to conduct research and outreach projects focusing on multilingual education. It has spun out from the University of Edinburgh following the success of Bilingualism Matters as a research and information service for bilingualism and language learning, which was established in 2008.

30 international centres

Bilingualism Matters became a University centre in 2014 and established 30 Bilingualism Matters centres in three continents.

The new University spinout will share ground-breaking research and activities promoting multilingualism to wider society, the founders say.

The social enterprise has been created to develop international audiences and build a global membership.

Services offered to members will include events, talks, training and resources. They will be available to children, parents, community groups, businesses and professionals from the public and private sector – in the UK and abroad.

Consultancy services

The social enterprise will also offer bespoke research in collaboration with its University partners and consultancy services to stakeholders such as local and national governments and non-governmental organisations.

Edinburgh Innovations has supported the researchers in launching the company.

Bilingualism Matters@Edinburgh, the University centre from which the social enterprise spun out, based in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, will continue to serve as a branch of Bilingualism Matters with a focus on academic research and dissemination, as well as continuing to offer advice and events on the benefits of language learning.

Cognitive benefits

The ground-breaking research from the Edinburgh team has included showing how speaking a second language improves school performance, thinking skills and mental agility in later life.

Bilingualism Matters currently has 30 branches – with a presence in Canada, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and United States.

The branches will become part of the Bilingualism Matters social enterprise and will continue their work with community groups, schools, health workers, policy makers and other stakeholders.

Professor Antonella Sorace of Bilingualism Matters said:

As the Founding Director of Bilingualism Matters, I’m delighted that after 14 years of continuous growth we are now spinning out from the University of Edinburgh as an independent not-for-profit organisation.
This development will allow us to strengthen the links among our national and international partners and form new collaborations, within our overall mission of bridging research and society and promoting multilingualism in any languages.

Launch event

The spinout was formally launched at a virtual opening event at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The launch included a roundtable exchange with international researchers and professionals from the education and health sector sharing their experiences in the field of multilingualism.

Related links

Bilingualism Matters

EI services for staff

Image: Prostock Studio via Getty Images