Main Project Goals
The overarching goals of the project are to: (1) Create a vibrant, knowledgeable and collaborative Nordic EdTech community, and (2) Enable and assist Nordic EdTech companies to become globally competitive and have greater commercial success in international markets. We will strive to help Nordic EdTech companies become better at communicating with potential customers and investors, and in improving their “go-to-market strategies” that take account of competitive market dynamics.
To reach the goals noted above—as we will seek to help Nordic EdTech companies :
- Become better informed about the EdTech industry and landscape not only in the Nordic region but also of the global EdTech market dynamics. This will be done both through information shared through our website, but also in various communications with all participants of the Nordic EdTech community, as well as in physical and virtual/online events we will be organizing. More on this below in Project Activities.
- Gain greater international visibility and profile with investors and the media. As Nordic EdTech companies improve their performance at international pitching sessions, and EdTech journalists gain more awareness of what is happening in the Nordic EdTech community—Nordic EdTech players will benefit and have greater success, both and home and abroad.
- Accelerate progress in the quality and quantity of Nordic EdTech players. Achieving the goals noted above will clearly benefit the EdTech players themselves, but also the whole Nordic EdTech ecosystem, consisting of public and private organizations that support or provide services to these companies. But stronger and more competitive Nordic EdTech companies should also translate into better EdTech products and services that will benefit students, educators and society generally, both in the Nordic region and elsewhere.
- Create a sustainable and vibrant Nordic EdTech community and ecosystem. We also expect this will also likely have the secondary effect of encouraging and stimulating individuals who might be considering starting EdTech companies. A high level goal of the project, therefore, is to contribute to growing the size, growth as well as the sophistication of the Nordic EdTech community.
The following are planned activities but we welcome feedback from Nordic EdTech players, including Nordic EdTech community constituencies—including various ecosystem service providers, such as community builders, investors (angels and VCs), and academic researchers:
- Website Design and Deployment. Our website will be the main place where we communicate and share information about what we do in the project, as well as information and data about EdTech developments and issues around the Nordic region and beyond (especially Silicon Valley, which is a hotbed for EdTech startups). Again, in the first year of the project, we see all design and activities as part of our “learning journey” where we are looking for your feedback so we can change what is not working, and make the website and everything we do more useful to the Nordic EdTech community.
- Nordic EdTech Company Profiles that will provide investors—in the Nordic region and elsewhere—easy-to-find and access Nordic EdTech company information. Based on key information parameters suggested by EdTech investors, we will provide information about all Nordic EdTech companies in brief templates—for anyone to find and see
- Webinar and podcasts. We plan to provide a number of podcasts and webinars on topics of high interest to the Nordic EdTech community and to share our list of upcoming topics and speaker suggestions with stakeholder and constituencies and give them opportunities to help shape the topics and the speakers. We will let the list evolve over time, and be open to suggestions as new market and technology developments occur.
- Nordic EdTech Pitching Sessions. Later in 2016 and in early 2017 we plan pitching sessions in the Nordic region and hopefully at least one in Silicon Valley (we will explore using technology to allow short video-based pitches by Nordic startups that cannot participate in person in Silicon Valley).
- Nordic EdTech Conference Poster Sessions. We plan for the first such session, and networking event for Nordic EdTech companies, to happen during the Interactive Technology in Education conference in Finland April 13 – 15 at 2016 [http://www.itk.fi/2015/info/English]. This conference, run and led by Jarmo Viteli (one of our project team members)—which has been running for many years and is largest EdTech-conference in Nordic region, had 1850 attendees and 50 EdTech companies at the exhibition at 2015). The other conference that will give Nordic EdTech companies an opportunity to participate in poster sessions will be at the World Learning Summit [http://wls.futurelearninglab.org/] in Kristiansand in June 2016. This conference—the sixth of its kind (the last of which took place at Stanford University on on May 29-30, 2015 and had over 200 attendees)—is led and organized by Professor Oddgeir Tveiten, Professor of Communications and Media at University of Agder (and Associate Project Leader of this project).
- Promote Nordic EdTech companies to leading US EdTech Incubators and Accelerators. A number of such EdTech-focused incubators and accelerators exist in the US, including a number in Silicon Valley, that very few Nordic companies have so far been able to join. A recent exception is WriteReader of Copenhagen which recently was admitted to the Intel Education Accelerator (the CEO and Co-Founder of WriteReader, Babar Baig, participated in the 2013 Nordic Edupreneuring project as well as in the acceleration workshop we held at the University of Agder). Acceptance to these leading EdTech accelerators in Silicon Valley is an important milestone for Nordic EdTech companies, and an important step towards winning venture funding from one or more of the Silicon Valley venture firms that are most active in EdTech investment. [In May 2016, xEDU–see blog post on Finnish EdTech developments–concluded a collaboration agreement with GSVLab’s edtech accelerator in Silicon Valley, a very positive development for Nordic EdTech]
- Operationalizing and making the Nordic EdTech community sustainable. At the end of the one-year project, we will produce a set of recommendations for how to make community sustainable and to successfully continue to build a vibrant EdTech community around the types of activities we have undertaken in the project. It is likely that Oddgeir Tveiten of the Future Learning Lab at UiA, Jarmo Viteli at University of Tampere, Jannie Jeppesen and colleagues at EdTech Sweden, and the leaders of Oslo EdTech Cluster will be key players in the longer term management and support of the Nordic EdTech community. These organizations may be able to finance the relatively low operating budget that the community will need to keep its website and various activities running, but some funding may also be sought from other organizations and sources.