Qubism squares up to Boston market
Local businesses hoping to break into the US market are being encouraged to sign up for a special trade mission to Boston Massachusetts, which is being led by Derry City and Strabane District Council working in partnership with Donegal County Council.
The 2017 Trade and Investment Mission, November 14th-17th, will focus on promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition for global companies. The trip builds on strong links established over the years as part of an ongoing programme of activities included in Ireland Northwest’s Gateway to Growth Initiative.
Several local companies are already reaping the rewards from previous trade missions - among them Qubizm, a unique company which is hoping to transform the landscape of traditional education with an innovative and engaging new approach to Maths. Qubizm creates specialized learning tools aimed at improving teaching standards and reviving interest in the subject for primary and secondary school children.
Local innovator and educationalist Franz Schlindwein heads up the company, which is now also making positive inroads into the education sector in Boston, Mass. Having travelled with the delegation last year, Franz will be travelling back to Boston next month to follow up on a series of networking opportunities generated from last year’s trip, and is confident that other companies can enjoy similar benefits. He explained more about the company’s groundbreaking work, and why Qubizm is the ideal company to break into overseas markets.
“International Research in the form of the TIMSS Report 2015, shows that 43% of children here are not confident in Maths by the time they reach the age of 13,” he explained. “Up until age 9, that percentage is only 19% - this downturn is a reality and Boston College did the research. The downturn creates major problems for children entering the transition process between Primary and Secondary school phase and we can offer unparalleled support in this area.
“We didn’t want to enter the US market until we knew our product was right, so we’ve been refining the system to the point where we now have the endorsement of the universities, validation from the Inspectorate and Education Authority and published research completed by QUB and Trinity College. Now we have something that is proven to work, we are confident in sharing it with the American market.
“In the US there is significant underperformance in Maths, which varies state by state, but in general, attainment levels are much lower than here. The TIMSS Report also shows NI to have the highest performance levels in Maths of any English speaking country in the world.
“Teachers here embrace Izak9 and 40% of schools have already adopted our system for a variety of uses so the response has been extremely positive.”
Qubizm’s first learning tool Izak9, has been going down a storm in schools across Ireland and the UK, where the colourful cube based system, which is supported by engaging online learning resources, has been bringing teachers and pupils together in developing exciting new strategies for tackling traditional Maths problems.
“When we took our system to Boston, children in the Boys and Girls clubs had the chance to try out the cubes and for example the pupils and teachers at Newman College - which is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s former school – use them already.
“While there we had several initial meetings with a variety of organisations both in the private and education sectors, and the next step is now for us to capitalize on that experience by travelling out there in June. We’ve had fantastic support since the trade mission, both from Council and from Invest NI, who assisted in setting up meetings with the appropriate points of contact for our company.
“It’s also been a great help having a contact on the ground over there, with business consultant Pat Bench setting up meetings for us with the Mayor’s Department, Boston Public Schools etc.”
The future is certainly bright for the company which is currently working closely with local education authorities while keeping their sights set on the lucrative US and Asian markets.
“We have lots of plans in the offing at the moment,” Franz reveals. “As well as our trip back to Boston, where we hope to make further inroads in the market there, we also have plans to translate our system into Mandarin and are in channel partner discussions with a company in the Middle East.
“We are supporting the Attainment Challenge initiative in Scotland where they are seeking to achieve equity in education, as disadvantaged children are greatly affected by the massive socio-economic divide over there. It’s become a major priority for the Scottish government to bridge this gap and they are investing heavily in finding ways to improve attainment levels in Maths. We’re working with 50 schools in Scotland already, and we are also initiating a research project with the Welsh Education Authority in September.
“I would really recommend the trade mission to Boston in terms of the support that is offered to anyone unsure of how to establish those first important links. The follow up support is excellent. Of course it does require effort on the part of the company in keeping the momentum going after the trip, but the rewards are definitely there for those who are committed to pursuing their goal of breaking into the US market.”
Places are available for 12 companies from Derry and Strabane with similar aspirations to gain access to key economic and government decision-makers in Boston. Burgeoning enterprises can develop in-market networks and in-market intelligence though business-to-business meetings with potential partners, agents and customers, as well as gain valuable first hand insight into the US market. The deadline for submissions is 9th June 2017.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston should contact: Rosalind Young/Adam Goodall at Derry City and Strabane District Council firstname.lastname@example.org 02871 253253; Michael Tunney at Donegal Local Enterprise Office email@example.com 00353749160735
Apply now for the 2017 Mission at www.derrystrabane.com/bostoncalling
Further information on Izak9 can be found on www.izak9.com