Jessica has 15 years experience in the area of education, arts education and technology and is currently VP of Education at Meet’nLearn. She is responsible for making partnerships with education providers, as well as delivering the message of Meet’n’Learn to make education more accessible to external partners. She studied Anthropology at Oxford which has enabled an understanding of working in a variety of contexts and the importance of historical contexualisation when adapting new technologies and methods through creativity.
Q: What is your background? Why are you doing this?
A: I have a strong background in Education 15 years in varying areas such as the Third Sector, social entrepreneurship, the arts, publishing and technology.
Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: The ability to cope with the unknown, take risks despite fears and spot opportunities whilst keeping an ethical outlook. This is probably known more as social entrepreneurship, but nevertheless!
Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A: I found that I didn`t fit into any box that required me to go through assessment centres or clearly defined routes, so I realised I had to find and carve my own route whilst always understanding traditional paths and finding innovative inroads within them. So I would say it was the opportunity to combine the traditional and ground-breaking ideas into completely new perspectives is what drove me in this direction.
Q: So what would you say are the top skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
A: You need to have a lot of perseverance and patience. You have to have the ability to adapt quickly to situations and opportunities. You need to know your stuff. Know your particular area or specialization but be open enough for tapping into other sectors if needed.
Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: The freedom, flexibility, variety and the opportunity to travel. You can be in London one day and the next in Berlin and then a small town somewhere in the country doing beta testing with schools.
Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
A: Paolo Friere and Augusto Boal they are both Brazilian educators that emphasize open dialogue and accessibility to education to change and empower people from all walks of life, especially those that are oppressed. I read them often when ever I feel off track. In the world of EdTech there are so many new innovations, it is easy to get distracted by ever more interesting and spectacular inventions and then forget your main goals of making education more accessible and finding way in which we can learn better and so gain more empowerment that breaks us free from repetitive dead-end cycles that has negative ramifications on society.
Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: I would ask how they would implement their methods with modern EdTech tools such as AI and adaptive learning as well as EdTech methods such blended learning, flipped classrooms and MOOCs, I am sure they would have very innovative ideas.
Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes as an entrepreneur?
A: Holding back too much and thinking too much about an opportunity. If you do this, the opportunity disappears.
Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur?
A: The opportunity to make an impact on society at large. Being connected to Oxford helps Meet’n’learn connect with valuable people in the EdTech eco-sphere and advice about future funding.
Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?
A: I would recommend talking to Wolfson Innovate that has a resource database for entrepreneurs. I would suggest going to the Launchpad at the SAID business school as well.