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GESA at Bett awards 2020

There is never a dull moment in the world of edtech startups and this was more apparent than ever at the The Global EdTech Startup Awards (GESAwards) in January. Part of the Bett conference, the awards which are now in their 6th year, celebrate the best innovations in edtech from 17 countries around the world, taken from thousands of applications.

Expecting the typical monotone presentation ceremony, I was pleasantly surprised. The nominees came bounding onto the stage with infectious enthusiasm, accompanied by an upbeat music soundtrack pumping out during the links.

Innovations specific to schools – over 40% – make up a large portion of the nominees with reading skills still being a major focus for edtech. Of the rest, higher education made up 18% of the nominees. 

Undoubtedly the stars of the show were Spanish company Genially who have taken the sector by storm creating a platform which brings content right up to date, bringing any document or message to life. Genially came first, winning a substantial $20,000 of Google cloud credits and also won the People’s Choice award on the night.

It was great to see UK-based nominees and Step Up members, Blackbullion, bag two awards – one for generating social mobility, as well as being awarded overall runners-up on the night. 

The clear priority of these awards is that companies have a particular problem to solve, and this was a running theme in all the presentations from founders which made up the bulk of the evening. Founders spoke with passion about how they were compelled to start their companies because there was a gap in the market that they felt they could fill, and a real problem they could solve through technology.

The message is clear – global edtech is very much a thriving and dynamic sector and brimming with ideas so – as ever – watch this space. It was great  to see a celebration of global technology and hats off to those presenting. I’m sure the major issue for the winners and runners up on the night must have been – ‘how do I get this gigantic cheque onto a packed tube?’.

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