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Estonia supports education technology startups

12. December 2018 - 13:30

Estonia’s Ministry of Education and Research, foundation KredEx together with Startup Estonia support startups in education technology industry with 300 000 euros. In next two years the government will invest in the solutions of startup companies and their implementation in Estonian schools.

Estonian schools are very good at implementing and using various digital solutions, the cooperation between schools and edtech companies will increase the momentum of innovation in education, says the Secretary General Tea Varrak. “Using digital and smart solution in teaching and studying in sake of just using those is not our goal. It is highly important that the studying and teaching becomes more interesting and interactive. Therefore, schools do not need another digital version of something we already are using. I strongly believe that Estonia’s startups can bring revolutionary changes in the way we are teaching and learning, just like did Transferwise change banking and Taxify changed taxi service,” added Varrak.

According to the head of Startup Estonia Marika Truu there are number of successful Estonian edtech startups, but the potential is much greater. “Estonia as success stories in edtech, but more emphasis must be drawn on implementing their solutions in schools. We are facing a number of challenges, because the needs of schools and technical capabilities of entrepreneurs have not met yet. In addition, the implementation of new solutions takes time in schools, especially when going international, because different countries have different education systems that demand tailor-made solutions. We are seeking to tackle these challenges and make Estonian schools pioneers of education innovation,” said Truu.

Suitable environment for growth

The joint undertaking seeks to shape suitable economic environment for edtech companies to be internationally competitive. The initiative seeks to help widening education innovation in schools, develops ecosystem for startups, shape conditions for at least 20 new startups, supports at least 10 existing startups, helps to pilot new products and services and eases entering to international markets.

In addition to that, there will be systematic and thorough overview of Estonia’s edtech sector (number of companies and their employees, taxes, investments, cooperation projects), bottlenecks will be identified, opportunities to more through support will be sought and partnerships will be developed.

Student startups

One of the focuses will be developing student companies into startups, based on the very successful entrepreneurship programme and popularity of student companies. Best student companies have demonstrated very high quality and have been internationally recognized over the years. Usually, student companies focus on developing some physical product, but during next two years, they will be support to shape their business based on the business model of edtech startups. This will be possible also thanks to the more than 10 000 new computers for schools than enable teaching more complex IT skills, such as programming.

EdTech in Estonia

According to Maarika Truu the growth of edtech sector in Estonia is about to bloom over new few years. “Today, of all startups in Estonia about 5% are edtech, most notable are Guaana, Lingvist and Dreamapply. I believe that this pilot programme helps to raise awareness, strengthens cooperation between parties and stakeholders, and most importantly, it helps to grow the number of edtech companies,” said Truu.

Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia and foundation KredEx provide each 150 000 euros, in total 300 000 euros. It will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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