US Sweeps Global EdTech Startup Awards

02/02/2017 09:42 am ET

Win. Place. Show.

More than 1,000 applicants from 70 countries entered the Global EdTech Startup Awards (GESA), with regional competitions taking place throughout 2016. In the end, 15 start-ups from the U.S., U.K., India, Israel, France, and Columbia competed on January 24 on the eve of BETT. The US swept the field, winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Hosted by Israel-based MindCET, the Global EdTech Startup Awards is truly a global affair. GESA is the largest EdTech startup competition in the world. It has partners in a dozen countries, including Boston-based LearnLaunch, the Center for Educational Technology, Digital Promise, and Mexico’s Technologico de Monterrey. Some of this year’s first-time entries came from surprising places: Macedonia, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Nepal, and Viet Nam. Innovation is a beautiful, global thing.

The 15 GESA finalists presented their products and vision to a standing room only crowd and a panel of distinguished judges from the global EdTech world. The winners were announced: Penpal Schools came in third; Primo Toys was second, and the overall winner was Edovo. The world’s most promising EdTech companies are all from the US.

The US beat the entire world.

I’m not foolish enough to find a major trend here, and I’m sure this is a one-time thing. Regardless, it’s worth celebrating. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the US dominated this year’s GESA. Entrepreneurship is a hallmark of America; it’s what we do. We have pressing problems that require fresh imagination and innovative answers. That’s our wheelhouse.

Innovation is taking place worldwide – if you don’t believe me, register for WISE 2017 in Doha this November, and see what the rest of the world is working on. New ideas, approaches, innovations, and partnerships can take root in the most unlikely of places. Every step forward is worth celebrating.

But it’s still fun to win.

Americans aren’t seeing a lot of positive news these days – and that includes news about education. We’re clearly doing something right in the US, and sweeping the GESA competition is but a small glimmer of proof. We are headed in the right direction and here are three shining examples of EdTech done right.

I’m sure GESA 2018 will be bigger than ever, and continue to draw the spotlight to the world’s most promising EdTech innovations. I’m also sure non-US companies will be in the winner’s circle. (Last year’s winner, Kytabu, came from Kenya.) But, for this year, it’s America standing alone in the GESA spotlight of EdTech innovation.

Shout out to all of us.

Josef Blumenfeld (@JosefBlumenfeld) is the founder of EdTech180, a PR and communications consultancy with expertise serving the EdTech industry. EdTech180 has a global client mix, representing companies in the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. For more information, please see or follow @EdTech180 on Twitter

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