With Facebook’s IPO finally launching, the thirst for being an entrepreneur has never been higher. More and more companies and entrepreneurs take shape everyday, but with that comes a much more challenging environment to stand out from the competition.
This is now forcing entrepreneurs to think outside the box and figure our what problems they want to solve, as well as the industries they want to change. My advice to those asking those questions – Get into education NOW. To elaborate here are a few reasons why…
Education is finally sexy
The education space is booming right now thanks to startups such as Skillshare, Knewton, Udemy, and 2tor (my employer). With these startups not only grabbing headlines and buzz in education, but also the tech community, education officially has sex appeal.
It’s a hot industry that is generating a lot of change and people are taking notice. For the first time in a long time, education is exciting and a market that people are turning to for answers more and more.
Accessibility to education is in demand
It’s not secret that student loans are a major problem in our country. Because of this, there is now a huge demand for education to be accessible whenever and wherever the consumer (in this case, the student) wants it. Schools such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and Georgetown have all made the jump to online classes – If these institutions that have been entrenched in brick & mortar traditions for over 200 years have embraced online education, there is a clearly a major change coming our way. As entrepreneurs, its our job to take advantage and lead that change.
For the first time, the definition of education varies
Getting an education has always been synonymous with getting your degree. Now, that isn’t necessarily true. Getting an education in today’s world could be attended specialized skills courses through Skillshare in your city or taking a class online with Coursera. Even the schools mentioned above (excluding Georgetown) are offering their online courses for free that are separate from their traditional programs.
With the definition of education in flux, the industry is already disrupted, which should provide entrepreneurs an opening to further the change and continue to mold education into what they see it as in addition to what the “students” are looking for.
Successful entrepreneurs solve problems. Education is a problem.
Some of the most renowned entrepreneurs of our time such as Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban have come out against the current education system for multiple reasons, and not many have refuted their claims. The education system has taken a lot of hits over the last decade or so and needs forward thinkers to revive it or completely alter it for the benefit of future students.
This is where entrepreneurs come in. The best entrepreneurs in the world see problematic trends as opportunities and take advantage of them. While tech startups are the typical path for entrepreneurs right now, the ones that truly succeed will always be those that solve a problem or need that people face. Education leads that category.
It’s already a world-changing space
User bases are some of the most fascinating statistics in startups. Facebook’s 800 million users are mind blowing, but on the other end, foursquare, the dominant app in the check-in space only has 20 million. That is certainly a lot of people, but FAR from the critical mass. When we think about develop products, we think about the size of our potential market – The benefit of education is that it is something that factors into EVERYONE’s life on some level.
That doesn’t mean your product will reach every single person on this planet, but learning is always in demand and the market is always huge no matter where you target. Entrepreneurs have to recognize this as they look at whom they are trying to reach and the influence they are looking to have in the world.
Entrepreneurs always look to leave their mark on the world – there’s no better place to do so than an industry that has been around in some form for thousands of years.
Bio: Harrison Kratz is the community manager for MBA@UNC, one of the nation’s leading online mba programs from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Harrison also sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.
Category: Startup Advice