An educational entrepreneur – or edupreneur – is an entrepreneur who creates new educational services and products, including online training workshops, tutorials, how-to guides, ebooks, webinars, or even online learning platforms or learning management systems. Many eduprenuers are seasoned teachers looking for innovative ways to use technology in the classroom. All have a passion for changing the face of education, to make learning more effective for both learners and educators.
If you have knowledge to share and a passion for creating tools and resources that teachers and students of all ages can use to improve and enhance the learning experience, you can help shape the future of education through edupreneurship. Here’s what makes edupreneurs so important and what you can do to become one.
How Edupreneurs Are Shaping the Future of Education
Never before in history has education been so accessible to so many. Thanks to internet, mobile communications technologies and the proliferation of distance learning options, anyone, anywhere in the world, can learn anything they want on their own schedule, wherever they are. Education has truly become democratized.
It’s a good thing, too, because human beings have an innate passion for learning and an abiding thirst for new knowledge. Edupreneurs are business entrepreneurs who specialize in slaking that thirst with educational tools, products and services that can meet the need for education in and out of the classroom. Whether it’s a high school Spanish teacher looking for a more effective way to help students practice and engage with language lessons or an HR rep seeking a means of training the whole company on using a new software system or a single mother studying for an IT certification that will advance her career and help her take better care of her family, eduprenuers are there with solutions.
They’re helping school kids learn problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking skills via video games. They’re helping international students develop the English language skills they need to succeed in American universities. They’re helping teachers monitor the progress of their students and manage the workload of lesson planning and grading assignments. They’re developing apps and platforms, like Codecademy or Duolingo, to change the way that learners and teachers interact with one another and with the material they’re learning and teaching.
How to Become One
If you want to become an educational entrepreneur, you’ll need to start by getting qualified. Most professional educators these days have an MEd, or Masters of Education; earning an online masters in education could be the easiest and cheapest way to obtain this credential without uprooting your whole life.
Once you have your academic credentials, you’ll need to come up with a business plan. Check out some sample business plans for educational services businesses. Don’t go overboard; start small, and plan out a scalable business model, so you can grow sustainably over the long haul. Don’t worry about signing up as many people as you can right away. It’s better to start with a smaller number of customers, so you can have some evidence of success to show to investors and customers later.
You’ll most likely want to think about how you can leverage technology to your advantage, so if you’re not a tech person, you probably need to get one – or more – on your team. It’s the 21st century, and technology has already become an inextricable part of education, whether you’re talking about first-grade students, final-year Ph.D. candidates or adult learners. Focus on developing innovative technological products that can enhance, support and improve the learning experience.
Don’t forget that innovation isn’t just for your products and services; it’s for marketing them, as well. Use every avenue at your disposal to get the word out about your products and services, including word-of-mouth, having your own website, advertising on internet classified ads, networking with colleagues and friends and buying advertising space online and in the real world. Spend as much time planning new ways to market your products and services as you do developing new products and services. Develop your marketing skills, so when it’s time to take new ideas to market, there’s a market there to buy them.
Entrepreneurship is changing what we think of when we think of education. If you want to carve out a place for yourself in the world of edupreneurship, the time to start is now.