It's now official: after a successful Startup Weekend EDU earlier this summer and with increasing interest in the sector, the non-profit behind the intensive, 54-hour-long startup-building events is launching a dedicated education vertical.
This means more Startup Weekend EDUs -- ideally, one a month. This means a lot more innovative ed-tech startups will be hatched, and a lot more entrepreneurs and educators encouraged and supported.
The endeavor will remain under the Startup Weekend umbrella, and is a result of support from the Kauffman Foundation and from Grockit. That first ed-tech focused Startup Weekend was held in Grockit's offices in San Francisco, and the social learning startup will have a big role to play in helping provide mentorship and guidance for entrepreneurs entering the space as well as for those local companies involved in hosting the events.
That's the thing: at its core, Startup Weekend is a local effort. Sure, the events are held worldwide, but there's always a strong local presence of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors, those that can help those in attendance hone their business ideas. This local piece is particularly important in the case of education, for as Grockit co-founder Farb Nivi put it, it's about "citizen-driven education reform."
That'll only happen with active involvement of not only engineers and entrepreneurs, but of educators. The new Startup Weekend EDU events will offer special tickets for teachers, an effort to make sure they're included the events. The newly formed vertical will also be hiring a full-time director who, among other tasks, will help provide ongoing support for the Startup Weekend startups working on educational efforts.
As I've recently noted, I'll be at Startup Weekend EDU in Seattle at the end of the month. And then there's a full series of EDU events lined up for the rest of the fall: the weekend of October 14 in San Francisco, one the following weekend in Washington DC, and then one in London the weekend of October 28. If you're interested in organizing a Startup Weekend EDU event in your area, visit the website.