Meet Dr. Federico Malpica Basurto, the founder and CEO of TeachersPro, who has always had a deep-rooted passion for education. He firmly believes that great educators are made, not born. Federico is on a mission to bring his company’s innovative solutions to the next level. But how did he go from Spain to the Turku Region, and more specifically, to the charming city of Lieto?
About the company: Built upon extensive scientific research, TeachersPro is a virtual professionalization platform designed to enhance teacher training and evaluate its effectiveness. For educators, it serves as a valuable tool for developing competencies and improving classroom performance.
Founded: The framework related to teaching competencies is coming from research started in 2007 and a company funded in 2012. Platform initially developed in 2016 in collaboration with the University of Turku.
Team: Two founders and two teams; one is primarily focused on business and Pedagogy (in Finland), while the other is dedicated to technical development (in Costa Rica).
Location: Living in Lieto, office at SparkUp, Turku – Startup community for growth-driven companies.
Latest achievement: Received Tempo funding from Business Finland to enhance internationalization of TeachersPro.
Random fact: Federico’s whole family is studying Finnish language.
On a lovely autumn day, I head towards the City of Lieto to meet Dr. Federico Malpica Basurto. The center of Lieto is conveniently located just a 15-minute drive from the center of Turku. We have already discussed earlier over the phone, and today we’re meeting for a photo shoot at one of his favorite places in Lieto. As an education expert, it’s only fitting that we meet at the library next to the biggest school in Lieto (the one attended by his children).
So, how did Federico end up in Finland, specifically in the City of Lieto?
Federico hails from Mexico and moved to Spain in his twenties to pursue a career in education. After spending two decades in Spain, he felt it was time to embark on a new adventure, this time to Finland.
“I was already familiar with the Turku Region, as I got to know the award-winning anti-bullying program called KiVa, developed by the University of Turku, back in 2014. Since then, I’ve traveled here frequently and knew that Finland boasts one of the best ecosystems for education & technology projects.
Federico realized that, to take TeachersPro to the next level, he needed to make the move to Finland. The planning began during the pandemic, and he, along with his family, made the move in the summer of 2022. Thanks to their previous collaboration, the Turku Region was the obvious choice. However, it took some extra effort to determine the best city to call home. He used platforms like Know Your Hoods, a city marketing platform, to familiarize himself with the region.
“We used to live in a small town and wanted to find a similar place. Lieto is the perfect combination of a peaceful environment, nearby services, and good connections.”
City of Lieto is a municipality with 20,000 inhabitants in Southwestern Finland. The city is continually evolving and is renowned for its investments in fostering a thriving business environment. The Avanti business area stands out as a logistics hub and one of the most sought-after locations in the region. Additionally, Lieto has received recognition in the Finnish Entrepreneurs’ Municipal Barometer in 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022, as the best medium-sized municipality for entrepreneurship in Finland.
Federico points out that Lieto is conveniently close to Turku, and one can easily commute either by public transport or bicycle. His office is located in Turku, and the commute takes only 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the mode of transport. Compared to the rush hours in Barcelona, it’s a treat. The natural surroundings are wonderful, and essential services are within walking distance. As someone working in education, the choice of schooling was crucial for Federico’s family.
“At first, we thought of enrolling our children in Turku International School. After careful consideration, we decided that our children would attend the local school here in Lieto. This way, they can fully immerse themselves in Finnish culture and language.”
What opportunities does the Turku Region offer for growth-oriented companies and experts?
With the assistance of Talent Boost, a national program aimed at attracting international talent and facilitating their immigration and integration into Finland, Federico and his family received valuable support. International newcomers in the Turku region can access services provided by International House Turku. It brings together counseling and guidance services that promote and support integration in multiple languages and across various channels.
The City of Lieto, along with 10 other cities and municipalities, is part of the Turku Business Region which offers regional support services for businesses of all stages and sizes. In early 2023, TeachersPro embarked on a year-long Level Up growth program, organized by the regional development company Turku Science Park Oy.
During the program, various aspects of the company are developed with the help of experienced mentors, not to mention the valuable networking events. As part of the program, TeachersPro underwent the Investment Readiness Process. Additionally, active companies can access office space free of charge from Sparkup, the startup community in Turku.
“Turku Science Park team has a secret formula that makes us move towards the fulfillment of our objectives as a company: Expertise, proven experience, network of contacts and human warmth, in a perfect balance.”
For growth-driven companies, there are several funding opportunities available, in addition to attracting private investors. For example, Business Finland offers both grants and affordable loans to scalable businesses seeking international growth. TeachersPro has recently received Tempo funding, covering 75 percent of project costs. The goal is to expand the platform into international markets.
What is the story behind TeachersPro?
In his twenties, Federico made a significant move, transitioning from Mexico to Spain to pursue a master’s degree in leadership and school management. Eventually, he earned his PhD in educational sciences, with a focus on innovation and quality processes within schools.
“My life’s mission is to enhance education worldwide.”
In 2012, he established the private institution, Escalae Institute, dedicated to research, development, and innovation consulting to ensure the continuous improvement of teaching and learning processes in the education and training sector. This marked the inception of the TeachersPro platform.
Escale Institute had its first encounter with Finnish education in 2014, becoming the first organization to implement the Finnish anti-bullying program, KiVa Koulu, within Spanish-speaking countries. This pivotal moment initiated a close collaboration with the University of Turku, renowned for its high-level teacher education.
“In 2016, after extensive research and visits to numerous schools all over the world, I had an idea of digitalizing all the knowhow we gained and offering it through a platform to teachers worldwide.”
What exactly does TeachersPro do?
TeachersPro is the result of first consulting over 1,000 educational institutions and 22,000 teachers in 12 countries. It serves as a professional online community designed to enhance teachers’ competencies with a lifelong learning approach and through a personal improvement plan, unlike traditional teacher training courses with an isolated approach offering everyone the same content.
“TeachersPro is a professional online community dedicated to enhancing the competencies of teachers.”
The platform is versatile, catering to (1) educational organizations for continuous training, skills development, and performance assessment, and (2) individual teachers, enabling them to enhance their own competencies, improve classroom performance, collaborate with colleagues, and showcase their development by earning badges and certifications.
16 critical competencies are categorized into four themes: leadership, lesson planning, learning management, and evaluation. Performance assessment and evidence of learning play a crucial role within the platform.
“In many cases, performance assessment is sorely lacking in teacher education. With our platform design, we can provide specific evidence of development and continuous constructive feedback, which will subsequently translate into improved classroom performance.”
Currently, TeachersPro is being distributed in Finland. At the same time, the platform is ready for international expansion. The Tempo funding will help the company take a few steps closer to that goal while also enabling Federico to pursue his life’s vision.
Text: Susanna Lahtinen / CYF Digital