Sometimes when an organization expands, it’s time to change up the name. A year ago, Startup Weekend and Startup America, founded by AOL CEO Steve Case, merged to become UP Global. Now Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) announced at the UP Global Summit in Las Vegas that the 54-hour weekend hackathons will fall under a suite of new programs under the new Startup Education division at UP Global.
Since Mandela Schumacher-Hodge took the reins in August 2013, Startup Education has expanded rapidly. Between 2011 and 2013 there were 26 weekend events; 2014 has already seen 42 events locked down. “I won’t be surprised if we end up with over 60 SWEDU events this year,” shares Schumacher-Hodge.
The mainstay of Startup Education has always been a 54-hour weekend that brings together entrepreneurs, educators, developers and designers to launch a minimally viable edtech product for K-12 classrooms. Startup Education has begun to introduce several new specialized themes to their weekend catalog: next-generation schools (here are recaps from the SF events in June 2013 and May 2014), libraries in Toronto, and middle-school student innovators in Mountain View, CA. Higher education is coming soon as well--stay tuned!
In addition to weekend hackathons (the trademark event for SWEDU), Startup Education is adding a resource hub, mentoring and other entrepreneurial learning opportunities. Schumacher-Hodge says it will host bootcamps prior to the weekend hackathons to familiarize participants with the basics of a lean canvas model and the art of a 4-minute pitch. Her team is also developing tools and programs to support education entrepreneurs post-SWEDU events with resources and opportunities.
Across the globe, Startup Education wants to be a catalyst and support for edtech communities, including getting involved in local edtech meetups.
“Entrepreneurship is going to be the legacy of this generation,” shared Marc Nager, CEO of UP Global to the 525 organizers and facilitators from around the world at the UP Global Summit in Vegas. The education vertical included approximately 25 facilitators and organizers worldwide from Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, France, Canada, Quebec, Amsterdam, Mexico, and the United States.
Other organizers not specifically part of the education vertical want to solve some of education challenges in their countries. One of the three organizers from Syria, Ali Alsabe, is deeply concerned about improving education in refugee camps, stating that “many of these children are at least two years behind.” Another participant from Palestine, Akram Dweikat, is organizing a Startup Weekend in Gaza and 500 people have already registered, and he hopes some teams will tackle education.
Here are upcoming Startup Education events: