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Entering the MENA Edtech Market: 6 Keys for Success

EDT&Partners
July 2023

According to UNICEF’s “MENA Generation 2030” report, the MENA region is predicted to witness its most productive years from 2018 to 2040. In a region where children and young people under 24 represent almost half of the region’s population, there’s an opportunity for Edtech companies catering to schools, colleges, and universities. ​​ With governments in the region investing approximately 20% of their total government expenditure as part of their 10-year vision, there is a conscious effort to shift from oil and natural-resources-based economies to knowledge and digital innovation economies.

However, operating within this diverse and culturally rich region requires a carefully planned and strategic approach. The MENA region is comprised of 3 sub-regions, each with it’s own challenges, visions and priorities.

EDT&Partners is a consulting firm in the business of education with services for Strategy & Growth, Technology and Product, we help companies to achieve success in the MENA region

In this article, we explore six essential keys to success in the MENA EdTech market. From understanding local nuances to showcasing a compelling value proposition, all while emphasizing the importance of adaptability and patience.

Are you seeking further guidance on navigating the MENA Edtech market?

EDT’s MENA Consultants have the regional insights and industry expertise and connections needed to help you navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

Entering the MENA Edtech Market:

6 Keys for Success

1. Think Local,
Act Local

The MENA region comprises of approximately 21 diverse nations, each with its own distinct culture, language or dialect, and education policies. From the bustling urban centers of Dubai and Riyadh to the more rural areas, every market has its own set of needs and preferences.

 

  • To make a meaningful impact, it’s crucial to tailor your EdTech offerings to cater to the specific requirements of each country or even individual cities.
  • It’s important to be attuned to the cultural, traditional and religious perspectives in the region and to adapt your Edtech solution and business approach accordingly.
  • Content localization and meeting the demand for Arabic language content is a pivotal point all companies will have to face when entering the MENA region.

2. Keep up & Consider the Culture

Entering the MENA EdTech market requires a keen understanding of local regulations and cultural sensitivities. While certain educational practices and technologies may be widely accepted in Western countries, they might not be as readily embraced in the MENA region.

 

  • Take the time to comprehend the local norms and adapt your solutions accordingly to build trust and credibility with educators, students, and parents.
  • For example, in Saudi Arabia, local regulations and new rules are published frequently in an effort to align their education policies with their ambitious Vision2030 plan.

3. Be a Pain Point Pioneer

The MENA education landscape is a mosaic of opportunities and challenges. Research and identify the pain points in the region’s education sector. Is there a lack of access to quality education in remote areas? Are there specific subjects or skills that are in high demand but underrepresented?

 

  • By addressing these gaps, you can position your Edtech solution as a transformative tool that meets the region’s pressing needs.
  • In the Levant region, characterized by a challenging political climate and a significant refugee population, the main pain point in education revolves around the need for remote-ready solutions that effectively address the issue of connectivity.

4. Local Collaboration
is Key

Building strong partnerships with local educational institutions, governments, and organizations is essential for success in the MENA market. These collaborations not only provide valuable insights into the region’s educational ecosystem but also help establish your credibility as a committed player in the local arena.

 

  • Governments in the region consistently invest approximately 20% of their total government expenditure on the education sector, an above average figure which demonstrates their priority on education.
  • Consider partnering with reputable schools, universities, or even government bodies to pilot your solutions and gain valuable feedback.
  • One example of collaboration in the region involves multilateral organizations, like UNHCR and other local education NGOs that receive funding to enhancing local community education for both refugee and local communities.

5. If You’ve Got it, Flaunt it!

With the growing interest in EdTech, competition in the MENA market is undoubtedly on the rise. To stand out from the crowd, highlight your unique value proposition clearly and convincingly.

 

  • Whether it’s innovative teaching methods, personalized learning experiences, or cutting-edge technology, make sure your offerings demonstrate a clear advantage over existing solutions.
  • Before investing in the market, consider visiting and exhibiting in the region’s numerous Edtech conferences. These events offer an excellent opportunity for networking, exploring market opportunities and testing your solution and value proposition.

6. Adaptability
& Patience Pays

Entering the MENA Edtech market requires a long-term perspective and patience. While the region holds enormous potential, success will not happen overnight.

 

  • Being adaptable to market changes and continuously refining your approach based on feedback and experiences is crucial for sustainable growth.
  • There are ongoing plans by many governments in the MENA region for curriculum reform, with a focus on future-oriented skills focused on technology, and social-emotional learning. For this reason, being adaptable and flexible are crucial as well as patient given the long-term project timelines that come with educational transformations.

In the MENA region, the future of Edtech holds great promise. Propelled by its commitment to education and investment in knowledge and digital innovation economies. Edtech companies have the opportunity to tap into the region’s vast potential and contribute significantly to shaping the educational landscape ahead.

Are you seeking further guidance on navigating the MENA Edtech market?

EDT’s MENA Consultants have the regional insights and industry expertise and connections needed
to help you navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

Let's have a 20-minute session where we'll provide some tips and help with a few interesting contacts.

Marketing by
The Edit EDT&Partners is an educational consulting firm, created by business, tech and education consultants, for higher education consulting, edtech, corporate at the Middle East, Europe, MENA, APAC, LATAM, U.S., UK, to help planning, validate and scale with conssulting for growth,M&A, and tech & product, interoperability cloud services, Hussein

Hussein Ayoub, EDT&Partners MENA Senior Consultant

For regional insights from a global perspective, EDT&Partners remains dedicated to providing you with the latest insights. For additional support navigating the MENA Edtech market, get in touch!

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