Today, we are excited to announce that 4.0 Schools and Education Entrepreneurs have formed a national partnership that covers two of our key program offerings: Startup Weekend Education and Workshops. As a leading incubator for pre-seed education entrepreneurs, 4.0 Schools will play a more active role at our events throughout the United States, ensuring our early stage entrepreneurs have a great next step to pursue, and that event Organizers feel supported in putting on a great event.
Since 2010, 4.0 Schools has launched 43 education ventures, 34 of which are still serving students, teachers, parents today. 4.0 Schools ventures have raised over $5M and earned more than $2.5M in revenue, and include such notable companies as Overgrad, Formative, Community Guilds, and Branching Minds. Also, several Education Entrepreneurs alumni have already taken advantage of 4.0 Schools programming, including Fantasy Geopolitics, Classtracks, Vidcode, and ImagiLabs.
With this new partnership, 4.0 Schools is excited to give Education Entrepreneurs participants the opportunity to bring their early stage ventures to 4.0 Schools for coaching and battle-testing their ideas with users via their two programs, Essentials and the Launch program.
- Essentials is a multi-day experience designed to help support 4.0 Schools community members move their ideas forward. Participants will practice the skills of empathy, unbundling, and prototyping, as they work to concisely define their customer or user, the problem they’re working to solve, and the solution they’re testing. Essentials alums walk out the door with a clear plan to test their idea.
- The Launch program supports entrepreneurs to bring new ventures – products, services, or school models – to life in under 90 days. If you’re a bold, gritty individual hungry to solve a tough problem, the Launch program will push you to test and iterate your envisioned solution until it is really meeting the needs of your end users. 4.0 provides an extensive test-bed in NOLA, where companies can iterate based on real user feedback and secure their first customers. During the Launch program, entrepreneurs will have access to coaching, connections, and equity-free capital up to 5k.
4.0 Schools is focused on more than just developing entrepreneurs. They’re committed to building communities of educators, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to build the future of school. This new partnership will also more strategically connect our volunteer event Organizers and national Community Leaders with 4.0 Schools’ network and resources, to ensure the greatest impact possible can be made towards community building efforts focused on education innovation.
You can learn more about 4.0 Schools here.
This post was written by Mabel Zhuang, Curriculum Developer at LaMeire College Consulting and Masters Student at Teachers College at Columbia University.
I first stumbled upon the startup world of education technology (edtech) at a demo night in San Francisco that a friend of mine had an extra ticket for. As I was recently admitted into an education graduate Master’s program, I went simply interested in learning more about education. What I got was not just an introduction to the exciting possibilities of technology within education, but that night, I caught the startup bug.
Since then, I’ve been heavily involved with the edtech startup scene in both coasts, and a comment I often hear is, “Where are the educators?” We are in a space where ideas and innovations are constantly generated, but a large majority of these ideas and innovations are coming from everyone but educators. Why aren’t more people collaborating with the individuals who are directly working with students on a daily basis to truly understand the problems and needs within today’s education system to build solutions that actually make sense? Why aren’t more educators jumping into the game and starting their own edtech ventures? Why aren’t there more educators becoming entrepreneurs?
When it comes to understanding what the problems and needs are in our current education system, it’s the teachers. Teachers know what they are lacking, what they need, and what works when it comes to instruction and learning because it is something they encounter every day. However, when it comes to building a product and launching it into the market successfully, the individuals who know best are the developers and businessmen. There is a wealth of expertise and resources that is often underutilized, and if educators are simply able to tap into this wealth, we can see amazing results.
An Educator Taking the Lead
Eric Nelson did just that. As a 9th grade social studies teacher in Forest Lake, MN, he found his students were bored and disengaged with world events. How could he get his students excited and interested in the news? He found the answer in fantasy football. That may sound odd at first, but here’s how he fused fantasy football with geopolitics. Nelson did not have his class create fantasy leagues and participate in the draft, but he used the same mechanics that appeal to him and masses of other people who play fantasy football and created a game called Fantasy Geopolitics. In the game, students create teams of countries and score points based on how often those countries appeared in the news. He found that by enlisting this “Fantasy Football” format, his students were having a ton of fun, while simultaneously learning about the complex relationships that arise from interactions among geography, politics, and the economy!
This was last year. Fast forward to today. Nelson’s Fantasy Geopolitics will be the first Startup Weekend Education-sponsored company at this year’s EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit in Nashville. Though Nelson came from a teaching background, he was able to utilize the knowledge, resources, and people power he acquired at Startup Weekend Education Chicago and 4.0 Schools to build a real company out of this incredible game so that social studies teachers everywhere can sign up and play the game with their students.
My hope is that there will be an increase in Edupreneurs such as Eric Nelson, teachers who are able to see their ideas to better education come to fruition. The resources are out there so let’s start sharing and collaborating!
Oh, and be sure to check out this awesome short video I made about Startup Weekend Education and Eric Nelson!
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