THE BRITS ARE COMING!
Navigating international waters can be a real challenge, whether you run an early stage startup, or lead business development for an established corporate. Large companies comfortably absorb international exploration costs; but when you’re a bottom-line watching new business, should you explore far afield markets? In education technology, should an earlier stage business aim to dominate their domestic education system, before they target international curriculums?
A world-view - ‘thinking global, but acting local’ - when developing technology products can be the difference between success and failure; identifying similar international businesses, unpicking their strengths and weaknesses and engaging foreign partners before the competition can help you to build a robust international business. School Districts (etc) can be critical for future growth, but how and when do you need to engage international channels ahead of the competition?
The UK has always been a leader in $4.5 Trillion dollar education market, so straight off the success of the BETT Show London, Edmix invited twenty leading UK education businesses to Texas to explore the US market at ISTE, The International Society of Technology in Education. This is America’s largest edtech convention, where 20,000 professionals gather for four days of edtech exploration.
Like a Hollywood Western, twenty UK businesses ranging from early stage startups to large BETT regulars, each donned their spurs and saddled-up with the support of UKTI and BESA, and flew 4999 miles to San Antonio, Texas to seek their own edtech gold rush.
Edmix pioneered the concept of a workstation-based conference exhibition booth at The BETT Show 2013: a multi-company, multi-use environment subsidised by industry thought-leaders where collectively, edtech businesses can engage an otherwise costly - but valuable - exhibition environment. We rolled the same successful format out in the huge ISTE Exhibition Hall - with a fantastic, centrally located 100m sq stand, just yards from industry titans like Intel, Pearson, Blackboard, HP and many others.
Days were long but fruitful, and there was a genuine buzz and intrigue about the British Pavilion from international visitors and fellow exhibitors, domestic companies and local individuals. Over the four days, everyone we spoke with took a real interest in what technologies and innovations the Brits were building and bringing to their market. Questions came hard and fast: did UK business models map to the US Core Common? If so, how? What was the thinking behind BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the UK, and - interestingly - could we help and offer suggestions for US businesses interested in reaching European schools and students.
We decided to extend the multi-company, multi-use pavilion format this year to include an audio-visual presentation area, where exhibiting Brits could host short-fire demo sessions to engage passing trade. It was a real pleasure to see this in action and watch seasoned UK sales professionals grab the gangways attention (…a chorus of James Bond or Dam Busters anthems sung over the microphone, cut straight through the serious sales chatter and drew a warm and highly bemused crowd!) Head nod to 2Simple for being the very best of British and a very charismatic, delightful team!
Like most trade missions, evenings were spent unwinding at one of the many corporate parties, where the drinks flowed and business cards traded hands. The ISTE corporate team were super supportive here and made everyone feel right at home, often suggesting places to go, meals to eat and partners to meet.
Similar to the BETT Show in London, edtech is a rapidly expanding market in the States (doh!) and it was a fantastic opportunity for UK companies to promote both themselves and UK innovation.
It was an unparalleled opportunity to meet new prospects, build new partnerships and make new friends in the sector.
Over four days at ISTE the following edtech innovators helped shape the future direction of UK education technology; as Event Director, I was proud to get to know each and every founder. A huge thanks to 2simple
, Data Harvest
, Limitless Learning
, Beluga Learning
, Clever Kids Apps
Special thanks must also go to Dominic, William, Felicity and the team at BESA
; as well as Richard at UKTI
for helping to make the Trade Mission happen.
If you’re a UK edtech company looking to crack the American market, ISTE needs to be on your roadmap. Come and chat to Edmix at one of our monthly London-based TechCity events and get to know the biggest edtech community in Europe. We’re off to Latin America next – yes, Sao Paulo here we come! What could the Latin American market hold for your business - and what future partners are waiting to help you grow your business in this exciting market?
Chat to Edmix and find out: firstname.lastname@example.org