A girl and a robot. Photo: Maija Astikainen.

Helsinki Education Hub will be a unique innovation centre for learning

Helsinki aims to be the learning capital of the world. Starting its operations in the city centre next year, Helsinki Education Hub is a concrete step towards this goal. It is the first in the world to combine learning and education startups, Finnish pedagogic competence, innovative learning environment and academic research into one coherent world-class export product.

The Finnish learning and education system is already world-class, but with the innovative competence centre for learning and education it will become even better. Helsinki Education Hub will be opened in spring 2021, and with it the city centre of Helsinki will receive an easily accessible physical and virtual space for cooperation, learning and experiments. The Hub can be useful for growth companies in the learning and education sector, investors, learners and teachers, researchers, incubators and public sector operators.

”The aim of Helsinki Education Hub is to combine the innovations of the learning and education sector’s growth companies with Finnish pedagogic competence and academic research. Through this we can make world-class innovations in education even more probable in Helsinki than they are today. We wish to shape learning and education into an even better Finnish export product”, Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen summarises the objectives of Helsinki Education Hub.

Helsinki Education Hub consists of several functions supporting each other. The core functions comprise collaboration and exhibition facilities for learning and education technology companies, consultancy services for growth companies, incubation activities, a space for learning and experiments, and shared and targeted events and trainings. In addition, the Hub will be accompanied by a learning and education accelerator, which helps companies to scale up into the international market.

The annual growth rate of the learning and education sector is 20% a year, Helsinki looking to have its share

EdTech – i.e. technology solutions for learning and education – is a new business sector, but its global annual growth rate is as high as 20%. The year 2019 saw the biggest global amount of investments in the history of the industry. In Finland there are slightly more than 300 EdTech companies, with the majority of them based in the metropolitan area. 

EdTech has acute relevance as a business sector, since learning and education innovations can also be used for tackling the global challenges of learning and education. Helsinki Education Hub is indeed a unique concept not only nationally, but also internationally. Helsinki aims to be the world’s greatest place to learn and, at the same time, one of Europe’s most attractive locations for innovative young growth companies. Simultaneously, the entire City of Helsinki and the education sector are also developed as a testbed.

The aim of Helsinki Education Hub is to promote growth entrepreneurship and international competence in the learning and education sector

 Helsinki Education Hub also promotes the business, internationalisation and commercialisation competence of the metropolitan area’s EdTech companies. In addition, the aim is to internationalise the operations of the learning and education testbed (EdTech Testbed). In it, companies can develop their solutions together with teachers, learners and the metropolitan area’s research, development and innovation operators. Through the Hub, investors can also more easily find Helsinki’s potential growth companies in the learning and education sector.

The operations of Helsinki Education Hub have been targeted at the international market from the very beginning. The Hub’s operations also create sustainable opportunities to promote learning and education export to the global market. This happens through the internationalisation of companies, support for business competence and goal-oriented innovation cooperation.

”Helsinki Education Hub is an excellent addition to Helsinki’s innovation ecosystem. Learning and education operators can find cooperation opportunities and network both nationally and internationally. With the Hub, growth companies can increase their business opportunities not only in Finland but also in the international market. The ultimate goal is to shape EdTech into a significant business sector in Helsinki, creating new jobs and simultaneously increasing the reputation of the Finnish learning and education system even further,” Helsinki’s Economic Development Director Marja-Leena Rinkineva rejoices.

The underlying idea behind Helsinki Education Hub is that although Finland is a pioneer country in learning and education, this position has not been utilised sufficiently. Helsinki has lacked a common space for cooperation, learning, experiment and presentation in the strongly growing industry. Finland’s own market is small and rigid, and there has been a lack of incubator activity promoters. Cooperation between the industry’s startups and bigger companies has also been scarce, the amount of domestic risk financing is too low and there is a need for more applied research. Helsinki Education Hub aims to tackle these challenges.

In addition to the City of Helsinki, the planning of the operations of Helsinki Education Hub has involved the University of Helsinki and e.g. the companies Microsoft, Google, HP Finland and Martela. In the near future, personnel will be recruited to the Education Hub, and the operations of the Hub itself are expected to start during the spring of 2021.

Read more from testbed.helsinki-website.

Additional information on EdTech, incubator and startup cooperation:
Start-up business advisor and Helsinki Education Hub project lead Mia-Stiina Heikkala, tel. 09 31027035, e-mail: mia-stiina.heikkala@hel.fi

Additional information on innovations, EdTech experiments at schools and on research, development and innovation cooperation:
project manager Anna Rantapero-Laine, tel. 09 31036123, e-mail: anna.rantapero-laine@hel.fi