The European Incubator-Accelerator that helps EdTech start-ups/SMEs turn ideas into market-ready products

Meet the 8 start-ups selected to move on to the 2nd stage

IMPACT EdTech is a €5.5M programme co-funded by the European Commission to boost innovation in education throughout Europe. We will be identifying, selecting and accelerating the most disruptive EdTech solutions from April 2020 to July 2022 via three open calls.

A pan-European programme designed for EdTech start-ups/SMEs to break the barriers to education and enhance learning experiences in a new era of human-centered digital education. 


The ultimate goal is to support European start-ups/SMEs to move from promising prototypes towards viable products. We will set up an EdTech-specific incubation environment offering both business & access-to-market support and access to an education ecosystem.

IMPACT EdTech provides expert knowledge, educational resources and data.



All efforts are aimed to facilitate the overall market uptake of those educational technologies which facilitate the acquisition of relevant skills and the extension of gender-friendly, personalised and inclusive lifelong learning.



Along the course of three open calls, IMPACT EdTech will support up to 43 start-ups/SMEs (15 in the first open call, 11 in the second open call and up to 17 in the third open call) in education and digital learning through a hybrid incubator-accelerator. We will validate, test MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) and prepare them to reach the market by providing early business and go-to-market support, in collaboration with education experts. Start-ups/SMEs will receive business and educational mentoring and training services both in Stage 1 and 2. Experts will help to analyse the potential of the start-ups/SMEs by short-cycle piloting in real educational settings to obtain preliminary impact assessment data that investors and clients require. 



Up to 17 selected companies will be supported to develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) based on their prototype (as described in section 3 below), at the end of which their MVP will undergo live testing by a pool of experts in education. They will receive up to €87,388 of EU Grant – of which up to €10,000 will be paid in the form of vouchers to access business and educational mentoring services, with the rest being paid as an equity-free lump sum.  



Up to 8 companies selected from Stage 1 with the best performing MVPs will receive additional support to bring their solutions to the market, either through piloting in schools or through beta testing, to assess the impact and performance of their solutions. They will receive up to €110,000 of EU Grant – of which up to €20,000 will be paid in the form of vouchers to access business and educational mentoring services as well as other services to pilot solutions, with the rest being paid as an equity-free lump sum.


Inclusive education

targeting specific underserved or vulnerable groups (socially disadvantaged persons, immigrants or minority groups, special educational needs students or other groups), address early school leavers or support the improvement of educational attainment for all.

Personalised learning

(based e.g. on Artificial Intelligence (AI), learning analytics, and other technologies) with a focus on supporting new, research-based pedagogical approaches for in-classroom education and encouraging life-long learning.


Skills development

of children, teachers and other types of learners with a focus on, but not limited to, the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Computational Thinking and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication.

Two Strands of solutions to be tackled by EdTech Disruptors

Regardless of the strand, the selected companies will be incubated under similar funding and service-support conditions but seek a ‘pull effect’ from fairly different market actors within the common incubation framework. The same incubation services and resources will be allocated in Stage 1. The differentiation will come in Stage 2, where Strand A and Strand B will have divergent piloting pathways and resources adapted to the functional characteristics of their products.

Strand A - School EdTech solutions

Strand A aims to support solutions which demonstrate a clear vision for the pedagogical use of ICT aimed at transforming education models at the level of formal (school-based) compulsory education, from early childhood up to secondary general and initial vocational education (commonly referred to as K12), notwithstanding that their potential application may reach other target users and educational markets. The solutions selected must serve to make education more inclusive, support personalised learning or support skills development of children and/or teachers. Solutions that can be adapted to blended learning contexts will be favoured.

Strand B - EdTech solutions for any age group and/or level of education

Strand B targets Business to Consumer (B2C) content-based solutions open to any age group and level of education, outside of the context of formal, school-based compulsory education. Strand B is looking for solutions that can disrupt the current EdTech market patterns and break the barriers to any learners through emerging technologies. Strand B solutions will be tackling the three IMPACT EdTech challenges (inclusive education, personalised learning or skills development), addressing any type of learners through formal education (including tertiary and adult education) and/or informal education, regardless of the age group of the learners.

Strand A: a research team from a university department is exploring how to increase the socioemotional skills of children with autism by using AI mechanisms. They have developed a digital personal assistant; the prototype has been tested to be used for clinical therapies, but its potential is much bigger. This digital personal assistant could also be used as ‘teaching assistant’ in classrooms, to improve interaction with children with autism. The research team has IP rights to continue developing and commercialise this technology; they have set a spin-off and are willing to reach agreements with other technology players when their product is mature enough to get a deal. They are confident in the technical quality of their prototype as well as their technical capabilities and can make all the technical improvements required to obtain an MVP. A 9-month incubation-acceleration programme will allow them to test their value proposition, validating the concept with business and educational mentors (Stage 1), and test it with a minimum of 3 classrooms in 3 different countries (Stage 2). In parallel, they will develop a detailed Business Plan (Stage 1), an Investors deck and a preliminary Impact Assessment (Stage 2) — elements needed to convince early adopters, investors and market partners, thus scaling and reaching the market.


Strand B: a startup is working to integrate Affective Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence elements and develop an adaptive learning platform based on:


  • Measurement of physiological information monitoring the autonomic nervous system to obtain the emotional state of the user based on physiological information;
  • Face recognition system, to identify the user and to recognize emotions in learning activities in real time;
  • Machine learning algorithms to classify and analyse the resulting data and give personalized insights.


These technologies have been successfully tested to monitor, emotionally and cognitively, a group of students. The next step is to incorporate them in a gamified learning platform for programming that can be used at home by workers needing upskilling. A 9-month EdTech Trial will allow them to confirm their value proposition, validating the concept with business mentors and pedagogues (Stage 1) and test it in a trial rollout (Stage 2). In parallel, they will work on their communication and marketing strategy (Stage 1), plan a long-term roadmap for development and beta testing their MVP (Stage 2). As a result, they will gather data to support the value proposition, both in business and pedagogical terms, being ready to approach investors and market partners, to scale and reach wide markets.


We walk with your start-up/SME through the journey of growing from an idea to a market-ready product.

By the end of the acceleration, each start-up/SME selected from the third open call would be able to receive up to 197,388.00 € in equity-free funding. 

Stage 1:

Incubation phase (4 months)


Up to 28 selected EdTech start-ups/SMEs will be invited to a pitch training session, one week before the Jury day.


Individual business, education and digital learning mentors.


4-day online intensive business bootcamp.


 Education mentors, experts and digital learning professionals, as well as Future Classroom Lab Validation Services led by European Schoolnet.


Full access to EdTech resources to develop your MVP (education ministries connections) .


Up to fixed lump sum of €87,388 per EdTech startup/SME, including up to €10,000 of voucher-based business & educational expertise and specialized resources.

Stage 2:

Acceleration phase (5 months)


5-day online acceleration bootcamp.


Go-To-Market activities training.



Strand A and Strand B piloting in real educational settings.


Visibility to relevant education ministries, investors and potential partners. 


Systematic 1-1 business and education mentoring services.


Up to fixed lump sum of €110,000 per startup/SME, including up to €20,000 of voucher-based business & educational expertise and specialized resources.


The IMPACT EdTech company follows the criteria below:

The SME is already legally established or will be established before the start of the incubation programme in any of the European Union member countries and its Overseas Countries and Territories, the UK, or any of the H2020 associated countries.

Has at least 2 members combining business, technical and pedagogical capabilities. At least one full-time employee on the project.

Has at least an early prototype/mockup of the proposed solution that has been already tested in lab conditions and controlled environments, from TRL 5 up to TRL 7.

Applicants must be free to exploit and commercialize the solution they propose in their application without restrictions or hindrance.

Personalised Learning, Inclusive education and Skills development are the three challenges we are focusing on. The start-ups can offer solutions that aim to address one or more of the challenges mentioned.


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