Why Entrepreneurs Should Focus on Education : Under30CEO Why Entrepreneurs Should Focus on Education : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Focus on Education

| June 8, 2012 | 11 Comments

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.

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , ,

Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.thesuccesseducator.biz/educatorshigher-education-professionals.html Debbie Ruston

    Absolutely agree Harrison!  Education is changing rapidly and it is very needed change.  With over 80% of graduates not able to find work in their field, coupled with 1 trillion $ in outstanding student loans in the U.S. alone, it is time for change.  We must educate our youth to be self reliant in the changed world we live in.  There is so much possibility for those that do think out of the box.  I welcome those that want to be a part of this change to connect with me directly at Debbie@TheSuccessEducator.com for details on how to have an impact and be part of the solution.

  • MBAatUNC

    Thank you for the kind words Debbie! 

  • Ambuj Agrawal

    You have touched upon an issue which is a burning issue as well as a sunrise sector in most of the emerging economies and particularly in India. If there is one industry which can change the country’s demographics and growth trajectory, it is education. The fact that most multilateral conglomerates and private equity funds are pumping money is a testimony to this. However, the efforts made so far to tackle this issue are akin to showing a lamp to the sun.

  • NYC Edu

    And Unigo, TutorSpree, DoesThatMakeSense, and Schoolology! 

  • NYC Edu

    Schoology** Yikes!

  • http://twitter.com/mflovestheworld Mohamad Faiz

    Education is extremely important, especially as entrepreneurs need to always bring ‘cutting-edge’ into whatever they do. There are tonnes of resources for open, free, peer to peer formal education – Khan, iTunesU, Lynda and the like. My suggestion is how about things which many success stories credit to be important factors? Building great relationships, managing your self, your finances well, leadership, public speaking and negotiation, etc. In other words, non-formal education and personal development. I would love to help millions of entrepreneurs get these learnings in the palm of their hand. Please check out http://www.Facebook.com/StreetSmartUniversity for what we are doing. World class experts in a mobile platform, world class learning in the palms of those who need it.

  • http://twitter.com/mflovestheworld Mohamad Faiz

    Nice

  • http://twitter.com/mflovestheworld Mohamad Faiz

    Nice

  • http://twitter.com/mflovestheworld Mohamad Faiz

    Nice

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohamad-Imran/693238973 Mohamad Imran

    Education is extremely important, especially as entrepreneurs need to always bring ‘cutting-edge’ into whatever they do. There are tonnes of resources for open, free, peer to peer formal education – Khan, iTunesU, Lynda and the like. My suggestion is how about things which many success stories credit to be important factors? Building great relationships, managing your self, your finances well, leadership, public speaking and negotiation, etc. In other words, non-formal education and personal development. I would love to help millions of entrepreneurs get these learnings in the palm of their hand. Please check out http://www.Facebook.com/StreetSmartUniversity for what we are doing. World class experts in a mobile platform, world class learning in the palms of those who need it.

  • Suzanne Kaplan

    As a former high school English teacher (public school), I have thought a lot about this subject. Not only are there a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs to better post-secondary education level, there are also plenty of opportunities for the k-12 level. Think KIPP(a network of College Prep schools) – the founders of KIPP are educators, but I’d argue that they are also entrepreneurs. 

    That said, I think entrepreneurs need to be careful of what they choose to pursue education-wise – make it quality. It’s easy to identify needs in education, but people who have not ever been educators themselves risk creating services that might not stand the test of time because they aren’t quality. Look at University of Phoenix – a for-profit college (we all know it because of its ubiquitous ads, don’t we!), it’s a forerunner of online degrees. However, anyone can graduate with a degree from University of Phoenix (anyone can get in too), because they really don’t care about academic rigor, they just want money. While those who run University of Phoenix might be happy with the money they make, I believe today’s entrepreneurs really want to solve problems and create quality solutions… So, my advice to anyone who wants to create a service to make education better is that s/he make sure they consult with educators (assuming you have never taught.)