Dr. Jelle Zijlstra Award 2023 Laureate in the Field of Global Impact | CatnClever and its CEO, Dr. Olga Ruf Fiedler

Dr. Jelle Zijlstra was the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, and President of the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, with a long-standing engagement with the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands. In honour of this renowned economist, we recognize international leaders whose work champions economic national growth, generational-shifting innovation, global collaboration, or charitable commitments which dramatically improve the quality of life for society.

Importance of early childhood education

In the years to come, the children of today will lead the world. Education is the cornerstone of a country’s future success, and early childhood education is key to this mission. It gives children a head start to develop their full potential in school and impacts the way they will think and behave all throughout their lives.. Although education levels differ from nation to nation, there is a direct link between a nation’s educational system’s quality and its overall economic well-being. Generally speaking, the most innovative countries tend to provide their residents with a greater quality of education than those countries resistant to innovationWhile fully developed countries offer the greatest opportunities for educational advancement , there is still a lot of work to do. One thing, however, is clear: the value of education in the modern world is indisputable.


During the pandemic, the internet proved to be a crucial intermediary for supporting student learning. Students, parents and teachers around the world now recognize that information and communication technologies are key elements in modern education. From e-learning platforms to mobile educational apps, new technologies are helping students improve their higher-order thinking skills, subject learning, collaboration, knowledge retention, and so much more. Moreover, in coming years, advances in technology – specifically, in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science— will impact education at all levels. The Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands believes that technology-enhanced learning has the potential to reduce inequality between rich and poor countries, by transforming education and making it accessible in new ways to students all around the globe.


CatnClever is an educational app for children aged 3 to 7., It combines easy-to-use interactive activities and playful lessonswith child-friendly aesthetics. It is based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and the early years curricula in Switzerland and Germany. CatnClever is safe, ad-free and introduces children to academic and non-academic concepts and skills that give them a head start to becoming engaged learners and citizens. The application was developed in collaboration with experts in pedagogy and the learning sciences. Using adaptive learning technology, the app successfully creates an individual course of study that a child can grow with.Education is an important asset for promoting human potential and the development of the global economy. CatnClever’s management team focuses on accelerating the adoption of research-based technology tools for children, while contributing to society and the welfare of children. They have made the app available, at no cost, to children in humanitarian crisis situations, and will continue to do so, worldwide, as the company grows. This is a key consideration for the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands to issue this year’s Dr. Jelle Zijlstra Award in the fields of Global Impact to CatnClever and to its CEO, Dr. Olga Ruf Fiedler.

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