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Gerson Ribeiro is a passionate entrepreneur and Startup Weekend Education Organizer from Brazil. He loves to meet new people and believes high-quality education, made available to everyone, is the only way to change the world.

Ribeiro is the founder of Olho de Anjo, which helps companies market online, develop business goals and with investment in early stage startups.

Find him on twitter: @gersonrfr
Using his favorite hashtag: #EdtechRevolution
Or on the web: www.olhodeanjo.com.br

***Read about Ribeiro’s Startup Weekend Edu Youth Recife event. For the first time, outside the US, young people set up educational startups in 54 hours.


What do you like to do for fun?
Longboarding and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?
Steve Jobs. The man was hard to behave but was simply a genius and inspired millions of people to innovate and to create a better world.

What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?
Duolingo. Their business model is simply beautiful and genius. They translate the internet for a fraction of the price at the same time that gives high quality language training FOR FREE! Amazing!

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs (EE)?
After my first Startup Weekend I heard about Education Entrepreneurs and wanted to participate in a Startup Weekend Edu. Although, it would be too hard to travel far away to participate. So I thought: Why don’t I organize one in my city? The rest is history.

What’s been your involvement in EE to date?
I’ve helped organize a Startup Weekend Edu event in my city and Facilitated the last Startup Weekend Edu Youth we had. Amazing experience.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
Finding the sponsors for the events. For sure.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
We are never going to be able to fully measure the impact entrepreneurial events will have for the future. It’s going to be a ripple effect that will echo thru time in an exponential reach. Thousands and maybe millions of people will be positively changed because of every event. This is amazing! Knowing that you’ve changed peoples lives for better is simply priceless.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to those trying to build an education innovation community?
Start organizing small and periodical events. Monthly meetups are very good to spark and getting out of inertia.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to people trying to create edtech products?
Providing free content. If you are trying to sell content know that you’re competing with free youtube videos. Think about your business model and validate it right now. NOW!

You just launched the first ever SWEDU Youth Edition outside of the United States – congrats! Why did you decide to do it?
When I was young, I remember my teachers telling me that we would be the future leaders, the future of our nation and of the world. The time has come.

What’s different about a SWEDU Youth Edition than a regular SWEDU?
It was hard to keep kids on track. During a regular SWEDU the adults will be by themselves, that doesn’t work in a Youth event. The dedicated coaches are essential for the event. Without them it is impossible to keep the kids in track.

For those Organizers who may want to do a SWEDU Youth Edition in their community, what are the three biggest pieces of advice you’d give them?

  • Find dedicated coaches that know about business and that can manage kids. That’s not easy to find.
  • Have 3 workshops: development, business and design for Saturday. The workshops must be direct to the point and something the kids can use right away for their startups.
  • Don’t be soft with the kids. They must learn time pressure and working hard for reaching specific goals.

What’s the legacy you want to leave in education?
I want to help education be accessible for everybody. I’m certain that edtech companies will find clever business models that will make this possible. Imagine there was an edtech company as big as Google? This would be something interesting to see.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
be accessible to everybody.

What are the books, events, videos, etc. that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?

Lean Startup – Eric Ries
The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank
Business Model Generation
The Art of the Start 2.0 – Guy Kawasaki    <—— Awesome and straight to the point
Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City – Brad Feld

Demo Days
Startup events in general
Startup Weekends

How to Startup a Startup (6 video course) – YCombinator
How body language shapes who you are (important for the entrepreneur) – Amy Cuddy

Anything else you’d like to share?
I believe the only way we can change the world is by providing global access to quality education. Today, we finally have the tools and infrastructure to make change possible. I’m certain that Education Entrepreneurs will find genius business models, ideas and innovation. The Edtech Revolution has started.