Since 2010, we’ve been developing programming to support individuals interested in leveraging entrepreneurship to improve education outcomes. Recognizing that education entrepreneurs face unique problems that require unique solutions, we’ve focused our energy on increasing the quality and range of our offerings to ensure entrepreneurs feel supported at every stage of their journey. Centering on Startup Weekend Education, a 54-hour experiential learning event, education entrepreneurs can also take advantage of education-specific reading lists, bootcamps, meetups, resources, and a global network of Community Leaders, who specialize in education innovation.
Opportunities to Connect and Grow
See our flagship program, Startup Weekend Education, in action
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The Community is Driving Growth
Any opportunity that people get to engage with our programming is due to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteer Community Leaders dispersed throughout the world. Community Leaders are those special individuals who want to bring people together to collaborate on the creation of education solutions. They strategically use our programs, resources, and global network to support the development of an education innovation community in their city. It’s because of these Community Leaders, that more people than ever are gaining access to key information, skills, and a network that’s been shown to play a pivotal role in the development of successful education entrepreneurs.
Growth Over Past Year
A Few Success Stories
Several education entrepreneurs that participated in Startup Weekend/Education have gone on to develop edtech products and teams that have been admitted into some of the most prestigious startup accelerators in the world (e.g. Imagine K-12, Y Combinator). Here’s a few of them: Sam and Liam of Class Dojo, Dan of Clever, Jeff of No Red Ink, and the team of Experiment. These entrepreneurs have all created effective solutions to significant pain points of teachers and/or administrators, and their impressive traction has resulted in several million dollars being invested in their companies in recent years.
As a high school social studies teacher, Eric Nelson had a problem of his students being disengaged & disinterested in geopolitics. At the recommendation of his mentor organization, 4.0 Schools, Eric pitched Fantasy Geopolitics at Startup Weekend Education Chicago in 2013. A year later, his product is engaging over 10,000 students and 500 teachers in learning about the world in which they live via a fun “fantasy football” type of game.
Ed an internet entrepreneur, Simon a graphic designer, and Paul an educator built Night Zookeeper during Startup Weekend Education London in 2011 to improve creative writing and literacy skills in young children. Night Zookeeper is now used in more than 5000 schools by more than 500,000 children, and they’ve raised about $900,000 to-date.
At Startup Weekend Education New York City in January 2014, three female developers, Alexandra Diracles, Melissa Halfon, and Leandra Tejedor, teamed up to get more teen girls excited about technology. Feeling a mutual charging that the tech world is still heavily male-dominated, these entrepreneurs wanted to find a way to teach girls that coding and working in tech is creative and fun. What resulted was Vidcode, a video coding app that is not only self-expressive, but paired with a hobby that teen girls love – creating and sharing videos. Today, their Kickstarter Campaign has already reached its goal, with five days still left to go!
Recognition from the Broader Education Community
- Nominated for the “Better Together” Digital Innovation Learning Award (winner announced November 21st)
- Selected as a panelist at SXSWEdu 2015 (topic is “Redesigning on School as We Know It”)
- Invited to conduct the Keynote at this year’s NYSCATE Conference, the largest professional organization of technology-using educators and administrators in New York State
What’s even better, our successful and seasoned entrepreneurs often times return to our events as Mentors, Speakers, or Judges, guiding the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs, and strengthening the “pay it forward” culture our Community Leaders have established.
The Name Should Reflect The Community
Recognizing that our Participants, Community Leaders, and Mentors are just as much the drivers for success as the programming and resources themselves, we have made the decision to move forward with a new name that shines a light on exactly who is responsible for this growing education innovation movement: people passionate about education entrepreneurship. As of today, we are officially retiring the Startup Education name and establishing ourselves as Education Entrepreneurs. Clear, to-the-point, and representative of who we are, our community is excited to carry this message forward:
We are Education Entrepreneurs, a global and diverse community that uses entrepreneurship to improve education.
So What’s Next?
- Visit our website to learn more about Education Entrepreneurs
- Stay up-to-date by following us on social media (Twitter and Facebook), subscribing to our newsletter, and bookmarking our website
- Check out our list of upcoming events to see which one you want to participate in
- Bring education entrepreneurship to your own community by organizing an event
- Email EducationEntrepreneurs@up.co with any questions or comments
The Bulgarian startup scene is hustling and buzzing these days. Only recently, Magin, the winner of the last Startup Weekend Varna in May 2013, announced that they got accepted to the next batch of Y Combinator! As the first Bulgarian startup ever! Wow, what a great success for the freshly started Bulgarian company by Martin Stoyanov and Theodosius Teodosiev.
Magin develops an application which organizes your mails better. You can also use it on your mobile device so that you can organize your mails while on the road. Labels solve endless searches through your mails for what is important and what not. Your productivity will rise immediately.
While Magin is heading to Silicon Valley, Stepsss as winner of Startup Weekend Sofia at the end of November, make their first steps as a startup by being accepted at the next Eleven accelerator batch, only three weeks after finishing first at Startup Weekend Sofia! Stepsss develops a smart insole that monitors the pressure in different areas of your foot when you stand or walk. It then sends the information to your mobile device or the one of your orthopedist who can tailor your treatment accordingly after a foot injury. The information helps you to do appropriate exercises, track your performance and get fit quicker.
The team of Stepsss consists of Stefan Ivanov (team leader & UX designer), Nevena Ganeva (marketing and social media), Ivan Atansov (business analyst) and the three developers Kris Parmakov, Nikola Donchev and Atanas Bahchevanov.
Asked about what the team achieved during the weekend, Stefan answers: “We did a lot but our idea ended up far from what it hopefully will look like one day. We managed to get an insole with a few embedded sensors that we engineered on our own, stream raw data through the web and show a heatmap of your foot from the data. It seems a lot but it actually is not that much when you know what you are doing, just what an MVP is. We also developed a good revenue strategy and targeted our market really well into three groups: patients that recover from foot trauma, professional athletes and hobbyst sportlers of course.”
The positive feedback from the coaches and some of the participants really helped the team to push their idea further. Even if the Sunday night pitch went very well and the judges seemed to understand the product, Stepsss weren’t expecting to win as “there were some really awesome ideas amongst the other teams”, says Stefan.
After the weekend, the fun really started. Here is what happened to Stepsss after the win of Startup Weekend Sofia, described by Stefan: “Everything happened so quickly that I am still pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming. We recorded a video for the Global Startup Battle and await the final results every moment as doing well there will definitely be a huge boost for Stepsss. The big news is that we got funding from Eleven (one of the startup accelerators in Bulgaria) which means that Stepsss is one step closer to our ultimate goal: to make the world a bit better for everyone. I actually believe that if your idea validates this slogan and your motivation comes from these words, you are definitely making it amongst the top three in any Startup Weekend worldwide. However, we stay on the ground and realize that the coming months will be really challenging and we have to be fully dedicated if we want our idea to succeed.”
Bulgaria’s startup scene is waking up. There is a lot more to come from the country at the Black Sea and all the other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Accelerators as Eleven or LAUNCHub with its seed fund help those young companies to get started. Stay tuned, it will be awesome!
Photo courtesy by Startup Weekend Sofia & Margarit Ralev.