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Five From Finland


The whole world is learning about Finnish education.Julia Bushueva

Finnish education has truly become a global phenomenon, thanks to an innovative approach to learning that transcends the traditional.

The market is brimming with edtech apps, games and services. But for teachers and parents looking for engaging and effective learning tools, the challenge is how to easily separate the wheat from the chaff? This startup has created a quality verification service based on Finnish educational expertise.

“It has been great to witness our reputation grow,” explained Marika Kukkasniemi, founder and CEO of Kokoa*. “Over half of our new customers come from abroad, in particular Hong Kong, the UK and US.”

Board games are back! Or maybe they never went away. Anyway, these games cover various aspects of business, ranging from innovation and personal development to leadership, and are directed towards business schools and consultants, managers and leaders.

“The purpose is to create a shared space,” company CEO and co-founder Eliza Hochman explained last year. “You are in a different frame of mind. The focus is on each other and there is no digital screen between people. After taking out the game, people just relax.”

Tailoring educational transformation solutions to its growing international clientele is the raison d’être of this Jyväskylä-based company.

“The pleasure of this work is approaching real life challenges not just from a commercial point-of-view, but also with an ethos of trying to do the right thing in the best way,” director of innovation and outreach David Marsh said last year.

Developers, gamers and entrepreneurs can now get schooled in all aspects of the games industry. Oulu Game Lab is a unique lab concept for higher education built around entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary learning. Meanwhile, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has launched a fully-fledged game studio in Espoo as part of its games education.

Looking for more to learn? Aalto’s game executive programme has been developed in collaboration with the industry to drill down into the leadership and strategic business side of gaming.

“The Finnish games industry is hugely successful, but quite small,” stated Anna Salomaa, lab master at the Oulu Game Lab. “Everybody knows and helps one another. This makes our operating environment fairly unique and we always get support from companies as they want to help others succeed.”

By embracing children’s natural curiosity and nourishing it, this science academy ignites the spark children have for learning.

“Children are natural-born researchers and investigators,” Sari Hurme-Mehtälä said earlier this year. “However, if they’re not encouraged, they can lose interest in asking questions.”


*Known as Education Alliance Finland since 2019

By: James O’Sullivan