9 entrepreneurship learning communities leading the industry forward
Founders Cafe founder Maddie Wang designed the community after finding solopreneurship to be pretty isolating. Her philosophy of pairing vetted members of entrepreneurial communities with deep, communal support results in an intimate community. “Intimacy is our North Star,” says the Founders Cafe website, and they're able to achieve this through a number of touchpoints:
- Member-led groups that meet biweekly to support different facets of the entrepreneurship process
- Events led by the founder, Maddie, and other members, that are interactive and filled with educational nuggets
- Help with finding co-founders as well as fundraising contacts
- Intros to more intimate groups within the community to start building your network
Founders Cafe is highly selective, but their community is nearly 200 people strong who, like any other member in a learning community, is seeking community contribute, mentorship, guidance, and peer support. While one of the smaller communities on this list, Founders Cafe is setting an example for others on ways to empower members to join in sharing their experience for more impactful learning community-wide.
Indie Worldwide's charismatic founder, Anthony Castrio, has found ways to pinpoint the hardest issues new entrepreneurs face and create solutions for solving them. For $29 a month, you're given access to a suite of member benefits, like a private Slack, marketing tips, 1:1 introductions to other members of the entrepreneurial community, and a whole host of other events and courses.
When you're building a business from scratch, you're learning everything about that small business all along the way. As we've learned at Disco, the best learning experiences have multiple touchpoints with different delivery methods. Indie Worldwide achieves this by offering members mentorship, advice, assistance, and — most importantly — collaboration through community. Learning isn't one-dimensional, so offering members different ways to soak in that knowledge is one of the biggest benefits the learning industry can provide.
Every founder is at a different stage in their own entrepreneurial development journey, so Founder.University has three products designed to meet you where you are:
- 12-Week Course for building your MVP, getting your product off the ground, and understanding market fit. The community invests $25k in the top graduates, too.
- 2-Day Intensive if your product is in-market but you're ready to raise Series A or go through other fundraising rounds.
- Podcast episodes for founders, by founders, to hear from the best in business on how to grow, scale, and sustain. Perfect for anyone at any stage in the business lifecycle.
Founder.University is exemplary of what the future of learning can be. No B.S., no fluff, no pointless theory and minute details that won't serve you down the line. All you need is strong content and relevant courses that hold members accountable and keep them engaged.
Day One is a global community of entrepreneurs and a fellowship program for emerging founders. “In the past two years, we've helped 350+ entrepreneurs launch over 200 companies and raise tens of millions of dollars,” their website says, and they've curated an end-to-end experience in order to help their members do just that.
The Day One Collective is set to drop in January 2023, unlocking a private, members-only club of emerging founders to anyone that holds the Day One Collective NFT. Outside of the community, there are opportunities for mentorships, meetups, and cohort-based courses. The 6-week Day One Fellowship takes members through an accelerator-style program to map out, build, and market a product, but they also offer leadership courses in partnership with VaynerX and other in-depth learning experiences to round out key learnings any budding founder should know.
Day One is exemplary of everything that's great about the learning industry and where it's headed: a vibrant community of other like minded people with-minded individuals that are willing to learn and achieve proven, measurable results as an outcome. What makes alternative learning communities like these so attractive to members as opposed to traditional educational models is that proven outcome—members enter Day One (or another learning community) knowing exactly what the expectation is and what the result is when those expectations are met. There's no guesswork about what you'll learn and why it's important. You'll know from day one that you're receiving invaluable information because those that came before you are vocal advocates for community's success.
Beyond helping young entrepreneurs in the York University community build their businesses and achieve their dreams, YSpace is on a mission to democratize entrepreneurship at a global scale.
Read our interview with Nafis Ahmed, Entrepreneurship Manager at YSpace, on how they use Disco to host their community and unlock access to learning for all.
“The reason I personally do what I do at YSpace is to eventually democratize entrepreneurship,” says Ahmed. "I believe that entrepreneurship has that power to unlock generational wealth, unlock access to networks, and unlock a lot of privileges that people haven't had access to from all different sorts of communities. I believe that, the more we democratize access to entrepreneurship, the more we can buy back privileges for a lot of communities that haven't traditionally had access.”
YSpace is working to achieve access for all by working with specific types of ventures, including CPG, tech, and any businesses founded by women or Black entrepreneurs. Like other learning communities out there in the world, founders in the learning industry share an innate responsibility to unlock access to education where there wasn't previously access.
Making industries — and, moreover, the world — more tolerant, diverse, and inclusive will always make businesses more successful. As an accelerator designed to put more businesses on the map, YSpace shares in that important goal of democratizing education and fostering entrepreneurship just as much as they do helping businesses launch.
Blitzscaling is the practice of growing really, really quickly, so Blitzscaling Academy is aptly named in its mission to help emerging entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life quickly.
After all, co-founder Chris Yeh wrote the book on blitzscaling, so you know you're getting the most relevant experience in this area.
Through courses, connection, masterminds, and other community-based tools, Blitzscaling Academy has managed to help members get their businesses to market while providing ongoing support economic development, and learning opportunities.
At Disco, we champion communities like Blitzscaling Academy for offering a whole suite of learning experiences. As we mentioned earlier, learning is not one-dimensional, and communities don't converse with one another in silos. Whether you pay annually or monthly, Blitzscaling offers members access to live events, case studies, frameworks, courses to scale your roadmap, and connectivity on a global level with others in the community. By giving members multiple touchpoints, they're creating more comprehensive learning experiences and delivering information in fresh formats for more impactful understanding.
The future of learning is more comprehensive than simply attending a course or an event or a mastermind in separate instances. When those experiences are hosted under one umbrella and can be used to make each experience better rather than take away from one another, your members are the ones who benefit the most.
The best thing about Unsolved? It's free to join. Founders of learning communities often feel pressured to monetize, above all else, entry to their community before finding other ways to generate revenue.
Hyrise doesn't charge members any money to join their sales accelerator, but rather monetizes hiring services for the companies needing sales talent. Read more here.
When you join Unsolved, you'll gain a community over 7,000 strong, plus access to over 50 workshops, 10,000 guides, and more than 1,000 mentors. That wealth of insight can feel overwhelming to some emerging founders — more so than a smaller, more tight-knit community — but even being immersed in a large community really lets you see how people interact in these spaces.
Moreover, founders of these learning communities can use large communities to their advantage by creating niche groups, member resource outlets, and other ways to foster more intimate connections within local communities.
“Join the community for future builders,” says Propel's website. More than any other group on this list, Propel leads with its community-forward, people-first messaging. Designed around authentic connection is the tagline, and they show you how exactly they aim to help members actually connect more authentically, by:
- Joining a lively Slack channel with 250+ members
- Curating 1:1 matching for truer conversations
- Hosting local monthly meetups
- Creating cohort-based sessions for deeper learning
- Sharing other learnings, from AMAs to mock pitches to a knowledge hub with community-pooled resources
For emerging founders, it just takes one connection to help you find a co-founder, an investor, or someone who will help your small business owners take off. Propel leads with community in the hopes that these connections will be even more impactful than the business planning and strategy other entrepreneurship communities lead with.
Not all founders are adults or business professionals with college degrees or years of work experience. FutureFounders champions the youth founders who are growing tomorrow's business landscape. Starting as early as middle school through age 30, FutureFounders curates a community and resources designed for that age group.
Community is at the heart of FutureFounders, pairing students up with kindred youths looking to become a future business leader. They also create mentorship opportunities for members with startup founders community leaders in the industry.
K-12 education isn't exempt from its share of learning setbacks. Immersing kids even at a young age to hands-on learning and practical use cases only sets them up to be better equipped and more informed as they get older. Plus, teaching kids to learn for the betterment of their lives and not simply for the sake of learning is a skill that's invaluable at any age.
The parallel of entrepreneurship and learning
Just as tech, ecommerce, and other massive industries are generating some of the world's most successful industries, learning is having its own renaissance and seeing more money poured into the its development industry than ever. Entrepreneurs in any vertical need to be lifelong learners, which is why the future of learning is looking bright for those who want to gain new skills as well as for those that have skills to share and a knack for teaching.