Scaffolding Start-ups: A New Role for Education

How does education change in the future.  The biggest trend that must be dealt with is change itself on a massive scale.  Knowledge is both increasing and decaying on an exponential trajectory.  What you knew 5 years ago may not be relevant today and many capabilities you may need today were unheard of 5 years ago.  Careers also change; requiring retraining.  The web is open and accessible and puts content at our finger tips, but it does little to help us structure that information in ways that build our capabilities.  Capabilities require more than just knowledge it requires active practice-based learning.  Capabilities also require different types resources, many of which may be still very scarce or expensive.  We need new educational institutions that provides new type of resources that build capabilities; the ability to do.

Here is an examples of a new model of an incubator institution, Brewery Inc; a brewery incubator based out of Houston recently profiled in FastCo.  Brewery Inc provides shared access to professional brewing equipment, a shared workspace, business workshops, a tap room with an established customer base and a regulatory framework all to support aspiring nano-brewery entrepreneurs to developing their product before venturing out on their own.  All of this helps to mitigate start-up costs and risks through shared knowledge and resources.

“Brewers pay $1,500 for the year to use one of Brewery Inc.’s fermenters. In exchange, “we’re actually taking all the licensing under our name, and taking all the responsibility for those brewers,” Borrego says. “When they’re ready to open their own business, the beer is perfect, the market is there, brand is established, and they’re fully ready to focus on the business aspect.”

As an educational pedagogy, what this brewery is doing is scaffolding the start-up process.  Entrepreneur Nano-brewers are able to learn by doing and what they are able to do is is extended by Brewery Inc.’s knowledge and resources.  When they leave the nest (so to speak) they are ready to fly on their own.  Sure, some could have survived on their own, but Brewery Inc’s processes accelerates and deepens their learning and their knowledge of how to make a brewery happen.

What types of resources are needed to scaffold start-up in other businesses?