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ef8433bfc04795583e98be0a3ab8fe2dHiro Miyakawa is half Japanese/half Brazilian. He is 24-years-old and believes curiosity and learning is the essence of humanity and love.

Miyakawa is a Startup Weekend Education Organizer and the Founder of Kotobá, a connector of  students to engaging Japanese language lessons.

Find him on Twitter: @hrxm
Using his favorite hashtag: #go
Or on the web: kotoba.com.brabout.me/hrxm


***Read about Miyakawa’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?
Watch tv shows, read books, talk, and travel. Try and do exciting things: Cook, surf, play, standup comedy.

If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?

Nelson Mandela. He engaged people to make a better country. The humbleness he had when he left the prison and thanked the guard, the determination he had to be against the values of that time…. I have many things to learn from him.

What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?

Udemy. It’s simple, practical, and skill-focused learning.

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs (EE)?

After my first Startup Weekend, I was hooked. I talked to Gerson about it and we started Organizing one in Recife.

What’s been your involvement in EE to date?

Organized SWEdu Recife and SWEdu Youth Recife, meetups and talks.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?Finding Sponsors.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
Seeing that I’m part of change and making the world better place! People leave the event empowered and talking about next steps. That’s fantastic!

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to those trying to build an education innovation community?

Engage with schools, teachers, professors, policy makers. They often don’t feel part of the entrepreneur world as devs and designers do. We have to make educators comfortable and communicate that they are the key people that will making things happen.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to people trying to create edtech products?

User experience is important. Engaging students to learn smoothly is the challenge in this mobile and internet world. It’s getting accessible, easy-learning, almost free, so the business model is challenging too.

You just launched the first ever SWEDU Youth Edition outside of the United States – congrats! Why did you decide to do it?

Youths are often excluded from entrepreneurship. “Too soon, too young” is the same excuse. We wanted to include them, hear them and challenge them to build educational solutions. There’s no convention that holds them back, and we wanted to see where all that creativity would take us.

What’s different about a SWEDU Youth Edition than a regular SWEDU?

In SWEDU Youth has step-by-step workshops. The kids don’t know pitches, costumer validation, etc. So we have to teach them in a practical way. Also, dedicated mentors make a huge difference. They act as godparents, guiding the kids through the whole weekend.

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?

  • The role of mentors is SUPER important. They stay together with the kids the whole time, they’ll be dedicated coaches.
  • Finding mentors that not only understand business and education but also is great with kids.
  • Having a consolidated school as partner is great to have trust from parents (and help approach the attendees’ parents)

What’s the legacy you want to leave in education?

Accessible and high-quality learning for everyone. We have technology to make it possible! I don’t wanna see a single person not taking a chance of his life because he didn’t have the opportunity to learn something.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
be fun and engaging for everyone.

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
Business Model Canvas
Startup Communities
The Little Prince

Meetups (organize one!)

TED Talk Sir Ken Robinson “School kills creativity”
TED Talk Jeff Skoll “My journey into movies that matters”
TED Talk Jane McGonigal “Gaming can make a better world”

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really happy to be part of the EE community and help things happen here in Brazil. Being an Organizer at Startup Weekend Education is really enriching, it’s an honor to help people feel empowered by entrepreneurship. It’s a huge learning each time. We have lots of challenges to overcome in education but one thing is sure, we’re not alone. Peace 🙂

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