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The Finnish Edtech <3 GESS Education

Read the blog from KOKOA and find out more about their time at GESS Dubai 2017 as exhibitors on the Explore Finland stand!

My first visit to Dubai, the city of glamour and tall buildings, was back in 2014, when my previous employer SongHi came to GESS show. The trip was arranged by Finpro. It was my second work trip abroad ever, and we took an overnight flight where I didn’t catch even a second of sleep. We hadn’t prepared the trip that well. To my surprise we continued straight from the airport to pre-arranged meetings with KHDA, GEMS and other private schools, so we ended up putting our talk together on a parking lot before the first meeting. When our time came to pitch in front of the audience that breathes power and money, my colleague started his part by singing. I was just as surprised as everyone else, which left me pretty much wordless. No deals were made on that trip. 

Last year we came to GESS with Marika, straight from Abu Dhabi, where we had a workshop with our dear client Lamsa. Because we participated in a short notice, we were not accepted to Finnish consortium booth and were not able to apply for GESS Awards. The first day went clumsily by carrying our closet sized luggage all around the exhibition hall, but this time we had a well-thought presentation to show and pre-arranged meetings went really well.

Third time’s a charm – this year's GESS Dubai was awesome! We had the pleasure of sharing the stand with other Finnish Edtech companies, seppo.io, Claned, Emma Math and Qridi. All arrangements, made by The Gulfpoint, were done super well and we were able to fully concentrate on presenting Kokoa’s services to the event visitors and building awareness in the market. It was also nice to watch when other Finns were presenting their products to potential clients. Miska and Topi from Claned had a stand right next to us and I enjoyed tremendously watching their energetic, positive and fluent pitches. There was a great interest towards Claned and visitors kept the guys busy. Good job Miska and Topi! 

The highlight of the trip was of course, the famous GESS Awards. Among three other Finnish companies, Funzi, seppo.io and Claned, we were shortlisted in the finals. Unfortunately, we were not chosen as a startup company of the year, as 21st Century Learning International took the trophy home. Congrats to them! Luckily seppo.io and Funzi won their categories, so Finns don’t go home empty-handed.

Altogether this was a really fun and beneficial trip. Now we continue to Abu Dhabi, but will definitely return next year!