An entrepreneurial “boot camp” held at Kauffman Labs in Kansas City, Mo., offers a glimpse at what the future of educational technology might hold.
Participants in the camp unveiled their ideas June 7 at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The 23 people who won a seat in Kauffman’s laboratory out of more than 1,000 applicants are spawning a wealth of ideas to invigorate the way schools work and how to educate children.
Kauffman, in its latest endeavor to spur great businesses, created the labs to seek out creative people with bold ideas — this time in education — and then surround them with mentors and combine their collective energy.
Budding ed-tech entrepreneurs such as Melissa Pickering of Boston, and her growing company that enables children to create moving picture lessons, said they are leaving energized, smarter, and buoyed by a support network.
Her idea wowed the panel of experts who have been helping the entrepreneurs. They loved the way it gets children using video technology to create lessons in math and science.
But the real-world market is still fickle, brutal and beyond their — and Kauffman’s — control.
They spent four months with the foundation, which brought to bear everything it has learned about “the science of startups,” said Sandra Miller, director of the labs. They worked on their ideas and were coached in business, finance, marketing, and even personal health.
“But we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Miller acknowledged.
Pickering has already launched her company, iCreate to Educate, and has used the labs experience to help her plan to make iCreate bigger and more strategic.