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Charles McIntyre looks at the best places to set up an edtech business

Where in the world should you set up your edtech business?

EdTechX Global announces its new index for 2016

Posted by Hannah Oakman | November 20, 2016 | Business

By Charles McIntyre

If you are planning to launch you next venture, it is probably worth considering where might be the best place to set up. There is a natural draw to the US for a lot of entrepreneurs, but you may be surprised to learn that the country is only recently recovering from its lowest level of start up activity in 20 years. For the majority of OECD countries the levels of entrepreneurialism still remain below pre-crisis levels.

So, as you look around the global market place, there are obviously a whole range of different factors you might consider on where to start the next EdTech unicorn. However, to help you in your selection we have tried to distill a number of key requirements in order to compare a range of different locations.

Typically, the largest single cost item for young EdTech businesses is their staff and in particular the hiring of talented software developers. It is hard to build any business without solid foundations and so access to well qualified but competitively priced tech talent is key.

To add to our EdTech recipe we need a business environment that is easy to operate in and that does not hamper young companies with burdensome bureaucracy. We also know that a thriving start up culture that is well established creates a healthy ecosystem to nurture new businesses. Entrepreneurial hot beds provide access to peer support and draw investors to help fuel the growth.

With these benchmarks as our guide we have reviewed a selection of locations and prepared an index of the best places in the world to launch.

The EdTechXGlobal 2016 Index of Best Places to Launch an EdTech Start Up:

1st: Singapore and Hong Kong

3rd: New Zealand

4th: UK

5th: Denmark and Malaysia

7th: Ireland

8th: Australia and Spain

10th: Netherlands and USA

12th: Italy and Phillipines

14th: Japan and Germany

16th: Belgium and Canada

Singapore and Hong Kong came out on top for 2016. With New Zealand coming in 3rd, we have Asia-Pacific dominating the ranking. 

Hong Kong enjoys a higher density of start-ups than Singapore, with over 31 start-up per 1,000 working people compared 9.5 in Singapore.  In both cases considerably more than the US, which you would expect considering the urban concentrations. However, if you looked at just San Francisco then the scales would tip the other way with the number of start-up being over 80 per 1,000 people, not unsurprising in the home of Silicon Valley.

Singapore enjoys a better ranking for ease of doing business and came out top in the results under this criteria, which is particularly relevant as young businesses get going. On software development costs, we discovered that Hong Kong and Singapore are pretty similar with the average cost of a software developer being roughly $35,000 according to data from payscale.com.

It is clearly time to move East. There are over 600 million K12 students in Asia which is more than 10 times the number in the US, or Europe for that matter. E-Learning is already well established, with over 150 million online learners in China alone and the spend is growing fast with an expected sixfold growth in education spend by Chinese families by 2020.

With this in mind, the EdTechXAsia summit and expo  was created with the aim of bringing together global and local innovators, education leaders, investors, market experts and business leaders, to discuss why Asia is one of the fastest growing marketplaces. The event took place in Singapore in November, attracting 100 international delegates from more than 40 countries, to provide insight into the power of EdTech today, and the massive potential that it promises to disrupt and transform education for all.

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