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Mi Cuento: personalised children’s stories

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“Stories and education can change the world,” says Muriel Bourgeois, co-founder of MiCuento, a company based in Barcelona that makes personalised children’s books. “I love to tell stories and to listen, and have participated in lots of story-telling festivals. That’s really where you realise that stories are so much better when you personalise them. You get total silence, total concentration. The kids join you on the journey… I’ve always wanted all kids to feature in these stories, and that’s kind of how we started doing what we do.”

MiCuento (My story) publishes personalised story books on demand. With a library of around 40 titles to choose from, clients are invited to use the names of their children, friends and family to personalise the story. “We then use technology to make it happen quickly, so that the story is adapted to their reality,” Muriel adds. “There are literally millions of possible combinations for every title. We can personalise it in 2 minutes and it can be with you within days. The children and their friends and family become the protagonists of the story.”

The beauty of this approach is that, since all books are printed on-demand, MiCuento can cater for all sorts of special requests, like adapting the text for kids with dyslexia, or using braille. “When was the last time you read a children’s story that starred a kid in a wheelchair? Well, we do that. 15% of children in Europe are dyslexic, but if you work with stock, it’s impossible to cater for them. We react to demand, so we can adapt parameters, column and line spacing and make it possible for them to enjoy these books. That can have a huge impact on their relationship with reading and knock-on effects in the form of improved self-esteem, reducing school drop-out rates, social inclusion… One mother once told me that her child doesn’t feel disheartened any more looking at a book. That’s a huge motivation for us to continue.”

The company now has a firm footing in Spain, but is looking to grow, particularly in France. With an investment from EIF-backed venture capital firm Impact Partners, Mi Cuento was able to take its first steps in scaling the business. “We started with just a few basic stories and needed more offer, more adaptability. Bringing in creators, designers, software developers and writers, we were able to grow to 43 books today, of which 15 specially made for dyslexia by the end of the year.”

MiCuento is now looking at autism and attention deficit disorder to adapt their offer accordingly. “We work with experts to address these problems. They’re neurobiological issues, not questions of cognitive capacity. If MiCuento can help a child read and understand, that’s massive for us,” Muriel explains. “Our experiences in infancy are the seed of everything we do later. The more care and self-esteem we develop early, the better it is for later. Learning to respect others, the planet, diversity…these things stay with you for life.”

Company: Mi Cuento (Spain)

Type of business: edtech; social entrepreneurship

Financial intermediary: Impact Partners

EIF financing: EFSI Sub-window 1; SIA

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Spain, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/es/index.htm

 

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