European IT group Cegeka and Belgian digital school platform Smartschool are joining forces to bring digital education into the 21st century. Stijn Bijnens, CEO of Cegeka; and Jan and Geert Schuer, CEO and COO of the family-owned company behind Smartschool, Smartbit, announced their plans in a statement today, explaining that ‘with this new strategic partnership between two Flemish technology players, we are in pole position to support the educational world in further accelerated digitization’. Smartbit emphasizes that nothing will change as regards current services. Limburg investment company LRM is also providing financial support to the project.
Cegeka wants to help prepare education in Belgium for a digital leap into the future. ‘If COVID-19 has taught us one thing about education over these past few months, it is the crucial role that Smartschool is playing in providing IT infrastructure in education. Today, it is impossible to imagine the education sector without information technology. We are delighted to deploy our know-how and experience and help this vital area of society move forward as part of today's digital acceleration. With our services, we are focusing on the further development of the Smartschool platform, helping it to grow in a future-proof manner for the benefit of schools and their students,’ says Stijn Bijnens.
Combining the strengths of two family businesses
With Smartschool and Cegeka joining forces, new synergies have been created between two Flemish family-owned companies, both of whom share the same standards and values. ‘We are very excited to announce the partnership between our companies – two technology players from Limburg. Together, we can help accelerate the digitization of education in our country. Our local connection and independence in the educational market is very important to us,’ Jan Schuer says.
‘In joining forces with Cegeka, we will ensure that our service delivery to schools will be guaranteed in the years to come. Moreover, it will enable the further growth of Smartschool in both Flanders and Wallonia,’ Geert Schuer explains. The company emphasizes that the name of the platform will not be changed and that there will be no impact on the current services provided to schools, teachers and pupils using the education platform.
Share capital structure
Cegeka acquires a majority stake in Smartschool. In addition, the Limburg investment company LRM also takes an interest in the company. The Schuer brothers will remain on board as shareholders, and will continue to be in charge of daily operations.
As Tom Vanham, CEO of LRM: ‘Smartschool is a true product of Limburg, and has a strong social impact on society. The digital school platform has helped students, parents and schools enormously during the pandemic. With Cegeka, a leading technology provider, on board, the future growth of this innovative family business is assured. LRM is happy to provide part of the funding required to help anchor Smartschool in Limburg.’
No financial details of the collaboration between Smartschool, Cegeka and LRM will be released.
Smartschool is a digital school platform aimed at facilitating cooperation between schools, teachers, students and parents. Smartschool includes more than 20 modules, designed to support the educational process. More specifically, it integrates communication, administration, e-learning, reporting, data analysis and a student follow-up system. Since the lockdown in March 2020, the platform can also be used for real-time distance learning via Smartschool Live.
Smartbit, the company behind Smartschool, was founded in 2003 and is based in Oudsbergen in Limburg. The company has about 30 employees. One in five French-speaking secondary schools and 57% of all Flemish primary and secondary schools use Smartschool.
LRM is an investment company that develops and stimulates economic growth in the Limburg region. This ensures a solid basis so that companies and projects that create jobs in Limburg are able to grow. Their financial resources and high level of expertise, combined with the unique strengths of the region of Limburg, provide a unique breeding ground for innovation and growth.