For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Entrepreneurship Co-op Student Improves Learning Process with Technology and Innovation

An attempt at leveling the playing field of education through the use of high-speed internet and artificial intelligence.

Project One

June 7, 2016

Mansoor Siddiqui, Entrepreneurship Co-op member and founder of Project One, has a simple yet decidedly ambitious goal. He wants to make a tangible impact on the world by pushing toward a new frontier in education. Mansoor believes this new frontier is both necessary and natural due to advances in technology that could potentially fix problems with the current education system. While there are a few different problems that Mansoor sees, he has one overarching solution. He calls Project One, "An attempt at leveling the playing field of education through the use of high-speed internet and artificial intelligence."

This technology allows Project One to learn from students and adapt to them, realizing patterns in their learning habits like a real-life teacher might. Because of their interactive platform, Project One engages the student more than a typical video lecture, which is the standard for online lessons outside of the classroom. Mansoor believes that his product is an improvement on the video lecture, but he does not discount the integral role video lectures have played in innovating education. He says, "Video lectures are the right idea, but we can do so much more with computers these days."

Regarding his thoughts on the role which education plays in his personal growth, he says, "For me, it was more about learning for the sake of learning. That makes me a better problem solver and a better thinker and allows me to find a real problem in the world and use the skills I have built to solve this problem and maybe build a product or a business around it." At times, he felt his love of learning stifled by an ultra-structured education system. Certain classes or other areas of study were too hyper-focused on repeating processes rather than learning the full range of what makes up a subject. Slightly disillusioned by what he saw as a fundamental problem in education, he seeks to share his appreciation for schooling and learning through the application of Project One.

As a member of the Entrepreneurship Co-op program, Mansoor exemplifies many of the lessons taught throughout the Close School, concurrently embracing the working space and resources that come with the Baiada Institute. Even though he is not a member of Close himself, he realizes that interdisciplinary curriculum offers a breadth of topics and classroom experiences. Mansoor capitalizes on the opportunity to start his business in a university incubator, which has been fundamental to his conceptualizing a business and solving a problem through his venture. A young entrepreneur can turn an idea into a tangible, validated business through the entrepreneurship co-op.

Mentors and advisors in the Baiada Institute offer expertise and experience to these entrepreneurial students who are yet to create a sustainable business. Speaking on his official mentor, Chuck Sacco, Mansoor says, "He is a great resource. It is great to have someone who cares about the project but is also detached enough to give honest feedback." The Baiada Institute mentors and advisors offer objective feedback, ensuring the businesses are constructively critiqued while maintaining a supportive environment.

One of the biggest differences Mansoor experiences in the entrepreneurship co-op compared to past co-ops is freedom and autonomy. This freedom necessitates responsibility and self-discipline. Ambitious students are drawn to the independence in this program. If embraced fully, the entrepreneurship co-op offers a powerful, unique experience for students. Regarding one of his favorite parts about the co-op, Mansoor Says, "One thing about the Entrepreneurship Co-op is learning your own faults and weaknesses and having the opportunity to figure it out for the next 6 months." And as Mansoor figures out the process of growing Project One as large as possible, he aims to make a powerful, positive impression on the education system, starting an important conversation for students, academics, and the business community alike. Mansoor and his team are currently running Project One's first pilots, with plans to expand after analyzing the success and capabilities of the current platform.

Christian Larsen, Communications, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship