Edupreneurship: Educate, Equip and Empower

Educational Entrepreneurship

The uphill task of the government is to train 500+ million Indians by 2022, through National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015. India needs to develop an opportunity for entrepreneurs with an emphasis on vocational training start-ups. However, investors’ perspective is alarming as there is lack of funding interest. Investors need education startups with proven business models and sufficient traction. The growth is rapid, because the industry is on everyone’s radar, concurrently; it means education start-up’s face hundreds of competitors. In the educational entrepreneurship world, it’s all about deliverables, accomplishments, getting things done and iterating, thus it necessitates having a clear communication of value points from startups to academic decision-makers. The high cost of sales, long sales period and lack of seed capital are weighing heavy for Education Entrepreneurs. With this background, the present study will focus on challenges faced by Education Entrepreneurs; and how different are the success factors from entrepreneurs’ perspective and investors’ perspective; it would also focus on addressing these issues and recommending strategies for betterment;  identifying the best practices in sustainable organizations and explore how they correlate with practices and structures in entrepreneurship in education.

In the education industry, 37% of business either directly caters to K12 schools and students or from products mapped to the K12 curriculum. This segment offers a rich opportunity to entrepreneurs and investors for mainly two reasons; (i) a large population base, approximately 20 million students across 1.4 m schools, (ii) and the gap in teaching methods anchored by only textbook content and no- application orientation.
Thus the role of education entrepreneurs is immense in this field. Students of primary, secondary and higher education are being squeezed by the rising cost of private tuitions and the struggle to move away from the traditional education system to digitization. The current generation can be taught best only by engaging them through digital education.
In today’s world individuals have an opportunity to connect with others and make an impact even in the non-conventional education system.

The main challenge for edupreneurs therefore is:

  • To create an organization that all individuals and teams network, innovate and enhance the productive well -being.
  • The difficulty in monetization, followed by several similar startups and longer gestation periods.
  • Lack of investors’ interests in education startups.

The skillset required for educational entrepreneurship is more diverse than available. There is a requirement of MBA students, entrepreneurs, investors, funders, academics and policymakers to explore and support the field of impact investment in education. A model can be designed for typical MBA students to educate primary and secondary level teachers on how to fund and implement innovation in education. This can be a venture capital project for MBA students to learn how to select investments, craft the fund’s equity and approach high growth companies. This model can also be used to encourage entrepreneurship among the student community.  Students can be taught how to structure deals, develop an investment thesis, debt and equity analysis, or beyond that and explore investment opportunities in education.

Universities in India should focus on subjects like Impact Investment in Education. While Indian Universities are focusing on AI, Analytics and STEM courses, there is a huge requirement that we start focusing on Impact Investment in academics. Academic research has a distinctive contribution to make development in social investment. This should be made possible under such strategies. Peer- driven studies and research can build impact investment in education. It’s the call for Academic Institutions to help build the impact investing field by imparting knowledge of investment skills, clarifying career paths and developing better practical knowledge. This will bring the multi-pronged stakeholder model for impact investment

To ensure that the growing population gets good education facilities and become employable, edupreneurs have launched unique initiatives for educating the knowledge capital of the world. The problem lies in the way students are instructed in our education system. We use the Push Model in education in India. However modern education needs relevant and constructive methods. The private sector and big corporates will have to drive quality education in schools and the government need to focus on vocational education. The current education system in India is degree oriented instead of employment-oriented. The emphasis on skill development under the national skills development policy has encouraged many edupreneurs to participate in Skill development in India.

  • The success of educational initiatives undertaken by public concerns needs to be correctly measured with regard to the quality of education imparted.

  • The likelihood of converting education opportunities into jobs and making learning come to a full-circle by tailoring education platforms to the current student demographics, across different social-economic segments.

  • Tremendous emphasis on curricular evolution at the State/National level. This should be led by a combination of experienced teachers, as well as new teachers who can bring in a fresh and innovative perspective.

  • Better infrastructure and internet connectivity in schools to enable technologically innovative products (using tablets, netbooks, etc.) to be rolled out in schools.

  • We often solve core education challenges through infrastructural solutions that don’t ultimately impact learning outcomes for students. More work to impact learning is desired

  • Considerable up-skilling and re-training of teachers should also be more thoroughly mandated

By Dr. Tanusree Chakraborty
Associate Professor, Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai
Email –

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