Hi there, my name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist hanging out on Planet Earth. Today I’m interviewing Svenia Busson who is the co-founder of the European Edtech Alliance. She’s speaking to me all the way from Paris, so let’s get right into it!
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Svenia. Can you tell me about the challenge you are addressing with the European Edtech Alliance?
Svenia: Thanks for inviting me to chat, Spiffy! I’m happy to talk about my work with the European Edtech Alliance. As you may know, women are an under-represented and underserved community in entrepreneurship. Especially when we talk about funding. In Europe, women founders get only 1.9% (!) of the total Venture Capital (VC) funding. In the US it's no better; a recent HBR article shows that US-based female founders got only 2.3% of all VC funding in 2020. Are women less ambitious? Less talented? Less gritty? No. They are under-represented (especially in the global tech startup scene) and we should therefore support them better. That's what we aim to do with the European Edtech Alliance’s Women in Edtech Fellowship - support women building Edtech (education technology) products, specifically.
Spiffy: Can you elaborate a bit more on your motivations to do it?
Svenia: I feel it is one of my duties to look for talented women out there and build networks around them to support both their personal and professional (business) growth. We aim to be effective in facilitating business opportunities for them.
Spiffy: This brings us nicely to my next question. How are you at the alliance working towards a more equitable world?
Svenia: One of our applicants asked me this question recently - “Do you think being labelled as a female founder is a positive thing or should we all just be founders?” I don't think it's particularly positive to be labelled as female; it's not about the label. For me it's about helping an under-represented and underserved community. As I pointed out earlier, female founders in Europe get only 1.9% of funding. I think that's because investors don't look hard enough, and because women are not as confident as men when starting businesses and they lack self confidence. That's why it's important to build support systems that are safe spaces for women and allow them to be coached, and give them access to the best resources to grow. That's what we aim to do with this fellowship.
Spiffy: That sounds fantastic. Two more questions before we wrap this up today. Can you tell me about a recent European Edtech Alliance initiative and the impact that it makes?
Svenia: Well, we launched our Edtech Female Fellowship a month ago. In a month, we had people from across Europe nominate female founders they know, receiving 200 nominations and 110 applications from 24 European countries! Out of these, we selected 14 fellows who will be part of a six-month programme.
Spiffy: Finally, tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make.
Svenia: The European Edtech Alliance is another entrepreneurship ecosystem I co-founded. We are working towards more collaboration in the European Edtech industry. As of now, we bring together 17 countries and 23 trade and industry associations representing more than 2400 Edtech companies. We have two goals: working more closely with the European Union on public policy and helping European Edtech companies grow in Europe and beyond.
Spiffy: Good luck with all of that, Svenia. Thanks for speaking with me today—it’s been an honor!
Svenia Busson is a global Learning Innovation explorer, she travelled to 19 countries to find the most innovative teaching and learning practices. She is the author of Exploring the Future of Education, a book about education innovations from Europe and founded LearnSpace, a Learning Innovation Hub in Paris, Edtech France, and the European Edtech Alliance. (First published on the Ladderworks website on February 1, 2022)© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.