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At Startup Weekend, education is one of our most popular “E” words. (The others are entrepreneurs, experiential, empowerment, and ecosystems.  Yes, we like “E” words.)  In fact, our Mission Statement states that we are a non-profit dedicated to educating entrepreneurs in startup communities around the world.

Learning in a classroom or at the workplace is essential.  But learning in the real world is equally important.  When we talk about education at Startup Weekend, we are referring to hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work education.  Education that you don’t passively receive but that you have to work for.  The kind where you have “Eureka!” moments and where you learn about yourself in addition to learning about entrepreneurship.

When we push people to step outside their comfort zones at Startup Weekends, when we encourage them to try something new or to seek advice from mentors and teammates, we are asking them to stretch the limits of what they think they can do.  By asking questions and daring to think big and disrupting the status quo, our attendees are learning what they are truly capable of—not limiting themselves to what they thought they were capable of.

There are no set lessons that Startup Weekend attendees are required to check off a list.  They don’t have to learn how to write a business plan or build a website.  But they are required to use the tools at their disposal to self-educate in order to break out of inside-the-box thinking and their own imagined limitations.

We believe that giving people time, tools, and access like-minded people is the best way we can educate them about the challenges of entrepreneurship but also about the opportunities they didn’t realize were within their reach.

This blog was written for the Vittana Blogger Challenge. Vittana was founded on the belief that education can change everything. Vittana believes education is the most powerful tool we have in the world, whether to fight global poverty or transform lives. “Literacy is not enough. Make a difference today.”