Estonia to boost education technology startups

The Estonian government is to support the education technology industry and invest in the implementation of new digital solutions in the country’s schools.

Estonia’s ministry of education and research, the KredEx foundation and Startup Estonia have agreed to support startups in education technology industry with €300,000. In the next two years, the government will invest in the solutions developed by startups and their implementation in Estonian schools.

According to Tea Varrak, the secretary general of the ministry, the aim is to boost cooperation between schools and edtech companies. “It is highly important that the studying and teaching becomes more interesting and interactive. I strongly believe Estonia’s startups can bring revolutionary changes in the way we are teaching and learning, just like TransferWise changed banking and Taxify changed taxi service,” Varrak said in a statement.

Pioneers of innovation in education

According to the head of Startup Estonia, Marika Truu, there are number of successful Estonian edtech startups, but the potential is much greater.

“We are facing a number of challenges, because the needs of schools and technical capabilities of entrepreneurs have not yet been met,” she said. “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 innovation in education.”

The initiative seeks to establish a better economic environment for edtech companies to be internationally competitive, help create at least 20 new startups and support at least 10 existing ones as well as pilot new products and services. In addition, a systematic and thorough overview of Estonia’s edtech sector will aim to identify bottlenecks and opportunities. Support for new partnerships will be provided also. Extra attention will be paid to student start-ups.

“Today, about 5% of the Estonian startups are in edtech – the most notable ones 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,” Truu added.

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The cover image is illustrative (courtesy of Lingvist).

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.