KU Leuven: KU Leuven, together with the Flemish Government, is putting its weight behind the expansion of the EdTech sector

According to Minister Crevits, Flanders has all the trump cards for international action and therefore provides 1.8 million euros in support for the development of the sector.

“The EdTech sector is growing worldwide. Many forms of education and training are digital today. Think of technological innovation in education, game-based learning or virtual reality. Flanders also has a great deal of scientific and industrial know-how to compete internationally at the top. With the <edtech/station> in Kortrijk, we want to join forces between research institutions, schools, companies and government to develop a strong Flemish EdTech sector. We provide the necessary facilities to experiment and set up collaborations, so that innovation, research and new projects can flourish.” says Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits.

Today more than ever, students and teachers are finding their way to digital lesson packages with lesson videos, online exercises and tests, or virtual classrooms for distance learning. Moreover, after their training in regular education, they often end up in a business context in which more and more use is made of digital technologies in training or further training. Hybrid learning and mobile learning are not unfamiliar terms for companies. The development of these educational technologies offers many opportunities for the Flemish economy.

A lot of (international) growth potential for the Flemish EdTech sector
The EdTech sector is growing internationally. Edtech hubs are emerging worldwide that unite knowledge institutions and companies to make a difference, together with education and government, in the effective use of educational technology hubs (such as in London, Lausanne, Boston, Singapore and Sydney).

Today, the Flemish EdTech sector is diverse and ripe for growth. About 70 companies such as Rhinox, MySkillCamp, Play It, Signpost, Televic, De Cronos Groep, Barco, Squidll to name a few are working with educational technology. At the same time, Flanders possesses strong scientific know-how, partly under the impulse of imec’s Smart Education programme, but also through practice-oriented research at our universities of applied sciences.

<edtech/station> as the hub for Educational Technology
Many EdTech players, including the ITEC research group (the research group behind imec’s Smart Education program at KU Leuven Campus Kortrijk) are already in West Flanders. The choice for Hangar K in Kortrijk as a base for the Flemish EdTech sector is therefore no coincidence. In the <edtech/station> ITEC and Hangar K will join forces to develop a strong EdTech ecosystem throughout Flanders. Companies and research institutions from all over Flanders can meet each other and work out projects together. In concrete terms, a demo and exhibition space is available in the <edtech/station>, workshops and study days will be organized and startups and scale-ups can go there for advice and guidance. The <edtech/station> will also perpetuate membership of the European Edtech Alliance.

Flanders has all the trump cards to create a powerful ecosystem that unites all actors in the field of smart education and educational technology. With this initiative, Flanders is resolutely committed to the digital transformation of education, education & training, which is one of the most important challenges for our current knowledge society.

– Piet Desmet, Vice Rector KU Leuven Campus Kulak Kortrijk and Academic Coordinator ITEC

“Many of our EdTech companies have already expanded internationally and are active in several countries. Flemish EdTech as an export product is working better and better, in addition to Finland and the Netherlands, we come into the picture with beautiful examples, products and concepts. But this all happened rather in a staggered order, each for himself, so this initiative has the greatest merit that it will bundle and streamline the different initiatives. Focus is everything and thanks to the financial injection from Flanders, Edtech will have its own structure, team and therefore focus for the first time. Moreover, EdTechstation can also call on the network of the founding partners and the Hangar K ecosystem in their conceptual and commercial expansion. In this way, Hangar K will have an extra growth leg – in addition to gaming. My ambition is to become the reference in Flanders, Belgium and Europe with these two spearheads.” said Arne Vandendriessche, CEO of Signpost and chairman Hangar K & EdTech Station.