How Startups Can Make An Impact On Higher Education

uncaptionedIt’s clear that we are in the early stages of an unprecedented shift in our education system. Everything from the opportunism of the internet to the shifting skill sets of the digital age are upending our centuries-old educational establishment.

It’s inevitable that even some established institutions will fall as new educational methodologies overtake old models. In many ways, these changes are already taking place. Millions of students take classes through online platforms like Udemy and Coursera. Boot-camp-style education workshops like General Assembly are also becoming more popular.

Today’s universities are more open and eager to adopting new models and fostering stronger affiliations to increase their value and effectiveness. The right partnerships can bolster a university’s ability to meet their students’ needs in a dynamic way, thus returning the value to their institution and ensuring that they remain relevant even as the proverbial winds are shifting.

Why is partnering with educational organizations important?

Educational organizations are a lot more open to partnerships now and have expanded their relationships with different types of companies to further education, knowledge and access to resources for students. As a company, it is important to take advantage of the opportunity to partner with such educational institutions.

Investing in higher education is investing in the future. This goes beyond the traditional route of supporting the education system through monetary donations. There are many ways to practically invest in education, such as through mentorship. Big business or small business, all businesses have the opportunity to raise up the future through education. For example, if you own a pizza shop, you can share your knowledge of opening a local business, signing a lease, dealing with waste management, staffing, etc. As a business owner, you have a mass amount of knowledge to share.

The return of investment here is the value of elevating society as a whole. By investing in students and providing them with the knowledge and resources to set them up for success is investing in the future. Moreover, the benefit to your company and business is that this can be a great source for hiring talent or an avenue for investing in new ideas. Educational institutions are hungry for such partnerships, and these partnerships are beneficial to all parties.

What do these partnerships accomplish?

Partnerships can be an incredible asset, especially when both organizations share similar core values and priorities. For example, my company is partnering with a university to enrich the academic experience for their students. The students are gaining valuable exposure to small business experience and the university is adding value to their academic programs. Together, our core values and priorities revolve around providing students with the best resources and experience to set them up for success.

These programs are easily executed because of the like-minded vision of being change-makers. Ultimately, students are the beneficiaries, which drives all educational innovation and improvement.

How can I initiate an educational partnership?

Start with the schools you went to. You already have a warm relationship with that institution. Think about the value you can provide students. Educational institutions are unlikely to turn down something that is valuable for their students. By starting with your alma mater, you can tell them you’d like to give back to the university and present the opportunity for partnership in a structured way that provides value.

If you didn’t go to college, the best way to initiate these partnerships is to do research on what these higher education institutions are doing. Schools are dedicated to their initiatives and bettering the education of their students. The more successful their students are post-graduation, the better for their institution. If you can help with that, then you have a great start. Contact each institution directly and share your idea with them. Start with the school’s career councils or development officer. Many institutions now have development officers who are thinking outside the box, creating incubation programs and looking for mentors.

Current trends like incubator programs, internal innovation teams and strategic, hands-on learning experiences will be the new norm for thriving colleges and universities. So, it’s imperative that you work with the educational institution to make sure you are providing value for them. The students are the future. Setting them up for success is a no-brainer.

These are uniquely disruptive times for our workforce and academic institutions. As such, it is also the perfect time to begin these partnerships.

[“source=forbes”]