Get in the ring! EdTech challenge for education startups

The Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning has initiated a challenge for educational technology (EdTech) startups to stimulate innovation in academic teaching and to improve the education system. The Centre collaborates with the 3 incubators of the universities Yes!Delft, Plnt Leiden Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. The Get in the Ring Foundation is asked to coordinate the recruitment of promising EdTech startups ready to scale.


This september the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning invited students and EdTech startups in for a challenge. The goal is to stimulate innovation and thus enhance Higher Education. It is not only about technical (ICT) innovations but also new methods, materials or platforms. The call was responded with great enthusiasm. Approximately 50 proposals were submitted, from which 7 are selected as finalists of the challenge. They will pitch their proposals in December.

The selected startups for the EdTech challenge are:
BLACKBEAR®,, iThrive, Learn Forward, Maester, PlagScan GmbH en Play2Speak.

The Get In the Ring-foundation is coordinating this challenge. The university incubators ECE RotterdamPlnt Leiden en YES!Delft assist the selected EdTech startups to kick off and execute their plans by coaching them. They will be supported and advised by educational experts of the universities and business experts. Access to test groups, pilot clients and funding options will be made possible as well. 

Timo Kos, director of Educational and Student Affairs (ESA) at TU Delft, was managing director a.i. of the  Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning in the preceding year. In this role he initiated the EdTech challenge.

Timo: “The reason for the EdTech challenge is the priority of educational innovation at the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning. We expect this is an effective way of organising educational innovation.  In international settings, e.g. in Boston and Lausanne (Swiss EdTech Collider), successful  cooperation between universities, incubators and enterprises is established to stimulate and facilitate educational innovations. EdTech has grown into a 3 billion dollar per year market; this indicates the high pace of innovations. As Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre we can and should take part in this evolution; we might even become one of the forerunners in this field.”

Leiden-Delft-Erasmus: an excellent ecosystem for EdTech

“As Leiden-Delft-Erasmus we have a strong position.  The universities have an excellent reputation in research and education. In the Centre for Education and Learning, the educational innovators, Centre 4 Innovation in Leiden, TU Delft Teaching Academy and Erasmus Community for Learning are united. Cooperation between the three incubators created a great ecosystem for EdTech.”


Incubators and executive parties  go for technological educational innovations.

“Cooperation with the incubators YesDelft, PLNT and ECE could help the universities incorporate ideas from the outside world.  The incubators also benefit from this challenge. For them it is the first step into the world of EdTech, an interesting expanding market. Executive parties like the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and SURF (Collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research) are all shaping policies in the field of technological educational innovations. Startups which are helping shape these policies are very wanted!”

Online Learning is a  theme of the  VSNU-programme The Digital Society.

“An additional benefit is that the Learning & Education theme lead of the Digital Society programme of the VSNU, Professor Marcus Specht, recently started as the scientific director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning. This will be another opportunity to bring in new knowledge and vision.”

Interview with prof. Marcus Specht about the theme Learning & Education, The Digital Society programme.

More information:
Get in the Ring
Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning

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