Meet Svenia, touring the world of EdTech (preferably on a bike)

Women at Mangrove #1

Mangrove is a global team of people who share the same values and collaborate towards personal growth. We chose a lifestyle of independence to pursue our own projects, explore who we are, and keep growing. In a series of portraits, we’d like you to meet the exceptional women of our community. Learn about their passion and how Mangrove helped to find and pursue it. 
On today: Svenia Busson!

Which project(s) are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on several projects simultaneously, but they all have to do with education, and are investigating how we teach and learn in the 21st century.

Three years ago, I started a research project called The Edtech Tours, on a mission to find a global benchmark of best practices and initiatives that are changing the way we teach and learn today. While touring 15 countries and meeting with the most innovative people from elementary schools to universities, I took a close look at the use of technology in each of these educational institutions.

Each year, I’m touring a different part of the world for about two months — most recently, I’ve been to several European countries to find out what the state of technology in education is across the continent, and what we can learn from our neighbors. For this year, I’m planning to shoot a documentary in Africa, showing how technology (especially mobile) is leveraged for educational projects there.

I’ve shared my research results with a big community of teachers, entrepreneurs, parents, and EdTech enthusiasts in a bi-monthly newsletter, and through blog articles. Companies and publishers in the education field, such as Bertelsmann or Pearson, are especially interested in my findings and also financially support my explorations.

Meeting so many great entrepreneurs who often lack the right network has also inspired me to build out an EdTech startup accelerator: LearnSpace. This spring, I’ll be welcoming my first cohort of EdTech startups to Paris, bringing them together with researchers (neuroscientists, psychologists, etc.), teachers, and business mentors who will help improve their product and find the right way to monetize it. I’d like to provide them with an environment for testing, learning, and experimenting by kicking off pilot projects in schools and universities across Europe.

What do you find most rewarding in your work?

The mere fact that the work I do every day has meaning to me. I wake up in the morning and know why I’m doing what I do — because I know that I can make a difference.

How did Mangrove help you along the way?

When I first met Mangrovers, I just graduated from university. I didn’t have any clue about what I wanted to do with my life — all I knew was that I needed a “real” job. The people at Mangrove taught me the most important thing back then: That I needed to build my own professional life that is tailor-made to me. They told me that there’s no path pre-built for me, no footsteps I could step in, that I needed to build out and walk this path myself. I can’t thank them enough for helping me to realize that.

How did you help fellow Mangrovers and what’s ahead for this year?

Passionate about education, I took on the mission to strengthen the learning part inside of the Mangrove community and came up with the idea of “Peer-to-peer learning”. Every month, you are asked what skills you’d like to acquire and what skills you’d like to share with others. Then you’re matched with different people who you could jump on a call with (or meet in person) to teach and learn from each other.

Gab and Svenia discussing what's ahead for Mangrove this year.

For the year ahead, I want to help Mangrove in becoming more diverse, and especially in attracting more female talent from all over the world. I’d also like for our community to open up to and add value for people in the arts and cultural fields.

How do you recharge?

Besides spending time with my pretty inspiring friends, I’m deeply in love with my bike. To recharge, I’d take my helmet, lights, and my bike, and start cruising around Paris. When on my bike, I feel like I’m in full consciousness of the world — I’m thinking of nothing else than what I’m doing right at that moment. That’s a great feeling. I also love music, all sorts of it, and try to go to a concert at least once a week. At the moment, I’m in my classical music phase and try to attend as many piano concerts or recitals as I can to take a step back from life and just enjoy.

Your favorite moment at Mangrove?

Generally, it’s the moments where I realize that we are somehow like a family. Retreats are quite amazing experiences because we gather for a week or two, live, eat, and work together. It’s pretty inspiring. During those retreats, you really get to experience what the word “community” means. Everyone helps each other and takes the time to participate in a daily ‘pairing’ session: We are matched with another participant every day and take time to take a walk, go for a swim, or drink coffee together. I remember one retreat we did in Provence, in a beautiful, typical house in the middle of nature. The surroundings were beautiful — we worked on the patio, under the sun, and took long walks in the deserted nature.

Thank you for the great interview, Svenia! Next up: Eugénie! 🔥✨