"Talent Explorer is flexible and easy to deploy. We have received good service and quick decisions from Business Finland," says Makke Leppänen, Eduten's Head of Partnership.
Eduten's cloud-based learning platform is a Finnish education export success story. Developed from research work started by the Centre for Learning Analytics at the University of Turku 15 years ago, the learning platform is already used in 50 countries. The digital platform leverages artificial intelligence and the gamification of math tasks, providing each student with the appropriate challenge level and providing the teacher with easy-to-use online tools to track learning progress.
Eduten found Hang Do in the company's own network and hired her as the country manager for Laos in summer 2021.
"She had graduated in Vietnam as an English teacher, continued her studies in Finland and has now lived here for more than ten years so she is well acquainted with Finnish culture as well as the countries of Southeast Asia. We knew about her skills and abilities because she had previously worked with our partner," says Leppänen.
Eduten is currently interviewing schools in Laos, conducting pilot projects and getting feedback on how its platform fits the local market.
"It's important for us to learn how to approach and communicate with the schools and to understand what type of a partner model works in Laos."
Eduten was quick to recognize the export promotion potential of international students living in Finland four years ago. The company currently employs talent from five different countries.
"These experts have the all-important local cultural knowledge, and they also understand the strengths of Finnish education and culture. They enable us to adapt our offering and product to the different markets. We cannot do it all by ourselves," Leppänen explains.
Eduten is also aiming to enter other markets with the help of Talent Explorer funding. The non-repayable grant covers half of the international expert's salary costs up to EUR 20,000 per year, and companies can apply for it in up to three different export projects. Leppänen encourages all export companies to utilize the funding and make the most of the networks of international experts found in Finland.
"Internationalization starts with testing the market. Talent Explorer offers an easy way to do market research, especially now during the covid pandemic when there are no trade fairs, and you can't travel much."
Eduten already operates in Laos' neighbouring countries Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The Talent Explorer project got off to a flying start when the company quickly found a Laotian education expert through Team Finland's network. The business potential of the new market looked promising.
"Laos is behind in digitalization but may well become one of our best countries. We realized that this could be just the right time to enter the Laotian market because there is a big educational reform underway and a real need as children have been home for such a long time. Also, there is not much competition yet," says Leppänen.
Talent Explorer funding is part of Business Finland's broader Talent Boost service that companies can utilize at the different stages of internationalization and for the various measures involved. An increasing number of companies are now taking advantage of the funding.
"Talent Explorer reduces the risks involved when a business decides to commit extra resources into entering a new export market. Hiring an international expert is often the crucial step that deepens a company's understanding of the business environment and its customers' thinking in the target market. It's great to follow these success stories," says Minh Lam, Service Manager, Business Finland.