Impact Report: Helsinki Education Hub supports early-stage EdTech startups and a growing ecosystem
Since its’ launch, Helsinki Education Hub has been up and running for two years, and has worked with over 200 startups, supported five batches in the Incubator program, collaborated with hundreds of teachers and learners, attracted international learning talents from all over the world, and helped grow the EdTech community in Finland into a vibrant and diverse group of ambitious startups by serving as a Hub where all stakeholders come together.
The project has boosted Helsinki’s brand as the true learning capital of the world, and in order to measure the true impact, Helsinki Education Hub has commissioned an impact report, conducted by the external company 4Front. The operations of the project were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The report focuses on three levels of impact: to companies in the Incubator, the community, and the ecosystem. The results show that whilst focusing on mostly early-stage startups, the impact of Helsinki Education Hub has been good both for individual companies and the ecosystem as a whole. You will find the report summary at the bottom of this article.
The Incubator is deemed impactful
According to the evaluation, the impact of Helsinki Education Hub on the businesses of teams participating in the EdTech Incubator Helsinki -program is significant. Along with the companies, partners and stakeholders also find the services and network provided very important. Among the findings, Helsinki Education Hub has contributed to establishing 15 new companies in Helsinki through the Incubator -program.
“The development of EdTech startups is at the core of our operations and we’ve recognized that support is incredibly vital in the early stages of growing a company. It’s also fantastic to see that the Incubator has attracted participants from all over the world and we have a very international atmosphere in the community, which bolsters the growth of the ecosystem.”, explains Mia-Stiina Heikkala, Lead Advisor at Helsinki Education Hub.
Further, the impact of the Incubator and other services on the development and growth of the company has been seen as very valuable by 71% of the participants. A total of 96% of the Incubator companies surveyed see that the program has created new opportunities (e.g., important linkages to financers, contacts to potential customers) for growth.
“Each of the Incubator batches reflects current and future needs for education and learning globally, which creates a unique chance for stakeholders like investors to gain an overview of the most promising solutions in the industry already at an early stage.”, Heikkala continues.
In terms of funding, the studied companies have raised a total of 928 000 euros in Business Finland funding. The total turnover of the startups has grown from 77 thousand euros a year in 2018 to approximately two million euros in 2022.
“The majority of the Incubator participants are early-stage teams, and for these the important and sustainable funding opportunities come from Business Finland grants and angel investors. Our key role is to support the startups in strengthening the foundation for their business. This will have a positive impact on their readiness for funding in the future.”
“According to the report, we have also been able to create a link of mutual trust between the startups and the investors, as well as amongst investors in different stages both in Finland and globally.”
The reputation of Helsinki is boosted by efforts on international networks
The impact on the ecosystem in Helsinki is difficult to evaluate at such an early stage, but through the report, it is still visible that Helsinki Education Hub has grown into an important role in creating and facilitating international contacts and networks. This has advanced the international reputation of Helsinki and increased interest in the Finnish education- and learning system, as well as lifted the reputation of Finnish educational knowledge and national education export. Over 1 100 international guests from a total of 46 countries have visited Helsinki Education Hub.
“Helsinki aims to be the learning capital of the world and we’re progressing steadily on that path. We are happy to notice that Helsinki Education Hub has achieved most of its’ essential targets and the number of international visitors and interest we’ve received showcases the true uniqueness of the project.”
Conditions for future operations are favorable
The report also explored and reviewed potential points of improvement for Helsinki Education Hub. It states that the conditions for the future operations and strengthening the role of the project as a center for educational- and learning businesses and institutions are favorable and will advance the position of Helsinki as the learning capital of the world. However, in order to reach this goal, extensive collaboration and development of the work with the city and the industry partners is needed.
The concrete suggestions for improved operations included expansion of activities and targets to include more services and partners, enhancing the co-creation collaboration with Testbed Helsinki, a strengthened nationwide presence and collaboration, a continued determined focus on international collaboration, and expanding the financial foundation for the project.
“We also want to see an increased partnership between Helsinki Education Hub and universities and researchers. The world class pedagogical knowledge and competence we have in Finland provides the foundation for more impactful solutions and creating a more fruitful collaboration between academia and business is a goal we work towards.”, Heikkala envisions.
For further inquiries please contact Lead Advisor Mia-Stiina Heikkala at email@example.com