For Education Entrepreneurs, Innovation Yields High Returns: Learning from Larry Berger, Jonathan Harber, and Ron Packard
by Julie Landry Petersen
February 07, 2014
Our culture is enamored with the idea that a visionary individual can create a brand-new business that not only makes it big, but also makes a big difference in the way we live. Meanwhile, few sectors are more desperate for new ideas than K-12 public education. Many intrepid entrepreneurs have waded unsuccessfully into the waters, hoping to improve outcomes for students but failing to surmount bureaucratic obstacles. Education entrepreneurs create either a for-profit or nonprofit enterprise, based on their fundraising needs, the revenue model that will suit their product or service, and the employees they hope to entice. Those who take the for-profit route face mistrust and often opposition on the part of policymakers and many parents. This article examines three entrepreneurs who have recently succeeded, with an eye toward understanding what made them successful and what that might tell us about the future of innovation in education.