10 Reasons This is the Decade of Edupreneurs

Here’s 9 reasons that this will be a great decade for edupreneurs.

  • new money foundations focused on new school development
  • a multiplying horde of venture/private equity investors interested in disruptive learning technology
  • a small but growing number of impact funds investing for return and social impact
  • mature engines of social entrepreneurship (TFA, NLNS, New Schools, CSGF)
  • a generation of young people interested in edu (including lots of business school students) that can’t find jobs elsewhere
  • a charter friendly administration and grant program (RttT) that dramatically increased the national charter opportunity
  • the explosion of online learning, cheap access devices, nearly ubiquitous broadband, and powerful application development platforms creating potential for a new generation of virtual and blended schools
  • a growing  consumer learning space
  • the press for learning in India and China which is creating opportunities there and innovations that will be imported into the US

I’m sure I missed something. What’s #10?

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Monise Seward

You failed to mention that those opportunities are largely reserved for White graduates of Ivy League schools. Those who are not willing to kiss arse, sleep their way to the top (a la Rhee) and play politics are basically shut-out of the charter school opportunities. I speak on behalf of a number of grassroots groups (Read: Minority education and business leaders interested in opening schools in their communities, without paying up to $1 million in management fees) are being shut-out.
Just thought I would add that perspective.
Thank you,
Equality in Chartering Advocate
Snellville, GA


Tom Vander Ark

Given quality concerns, the charter sector shifted from a place for innovation to scaling proven models. It also got very bureaucratic. The net result is that it take a long time and a lot of money to open a charter and, as you pointed, out, effectively shuts out many participants. Minority leadership in the charter sector needs to be a priority--a reason I support BAEO. It's a topic I will raise at the Authorizers conference in Tampa on Thursday.
If you're interested in opening charters in GA, I'd be happy to chat.


I'm going to take a bit of issue with your #5. Knowing a very high number of talented, fancy-school grads who have proactively left their banking/pe/consulting jobs to work in the ed space, I'd be careful about assuming that those you meet are at the low end of the top tier.
I'm not complaining about the influx of talent, independent of the circumstances. There is, however, a boon in public conscientiousness among mid-20 year olds (whatever our generation is called) that they are very blessed and have an innate responsibility to help those who have not been so lucky. Lost among the law school grads who are "forced" to donate a year to service are a entire cadre of enthusiastic individuals who have been used to working exceptional hours and achieving continual success. How edu-organizations leverage this wave will be the really interesting question over the next 5 years.

Steve Smith

#10 - Because if we do not invest in Education, everything else you chose to invest in will be worth less not more.


The opposite of #5--a group of very talented School of Ed Social Foundations, Policy, and Psychometrics students who are graduating without job openings in academia available.

CJ Westerberg

#10 are the "new guard" of social entrepreneurs who are changing the education conversation making it mainstream. www.thedailyriff.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.