The 5 Challenges of an Education Technology Entrepreneur

Education technology entrepreneurs are optimists, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of issues.

From getting investors to learning flexibility, the path isn’t easy. Here are five challenges education technology entrepreneurs face, and ways to begin overcoming them. 

1. Doing Business in Academia

Academia parades to the beat of a different drum than the business world. Even our calendar is different. 

Working within the constraints that schools cope with means planning an adoption far before your rollout, establishing a summer professional development schedule and waiting for payment, often not until school budgets open in September.

INSTEAD: Change your schedule to the needs of the school system.

2. Confidentiality

Learner information falls into various confidential arenas, so you’ll have to address data security. The people who can stand up to disorderly middle school learners without batting an eyelash find compromised learner data to be one of the scariest things imaginable.

And rightly so. 

INSTEAD: State upfront that you understand the importance of learner confidentially and then prove it.

3. Change

Change is hard, but it’s hardest for education technology entrepreneurs who live in a fluid, fast-paced world that evolves continuously. Schools do not adapt and change as rapidly as they do.

Most educators and administrators alike are skeptical of education technology, and some are downright fearful that your product will replace them.

INSTEAD: Show how your education technology serves as a tool and solves a problem. 

4. Money

Education technology is a booming business. Your business plan requires more than an MVP; it needs a sustainable model. You’ve got to design a product that addresses a need, solves it, gives continuous support and doesn’t eat all your profits.

INSTEAD: Help schools become your client by showing them how to write funding grants or formulate payment plans. 

5. Marketing 

The antiquated model of sending a sales force to visit districts may now be a thing of the past because of the expense. Social media is a great marketing tool for most businesses, but academia is generally slow to engage with products marketed solely on social media. 

The savvy education technology entrepreneur has to be creative in finding academic support.

INSTEAD:  Make relationships and give value. 

Education technology entrepreneurs who are ready for these challenges will be greatly successful.

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