Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Presented at the 4th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE 2016), hosted by The Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, 28 ‐ 29th April 2016.


The global market for e-learning is projected to reach $255 billion by 2017 with a compound growth average of 23% since 2012 (GSV Advisors, 2012). The shift towards digital learning has attracted a wave of digital entrepreneurs who are creating e-learning content, learning platforms, educational apps and online marketplaces. Nowhere is this more evident than in the online 'K-12' market (50 per cent share of the global e-learning market). The term K-12 refers to 12 years of formal primary and secondary education from kindergarten (K) or nursery – essentially pre-university level education. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the motivations and processes underpinning the launch of online ventures by enterprising teachers in the K-12 industry. Teacherpreneurship (teacher-driven entrepreneurship) is yet to attract significant academic interest and this exploratory study hopes to contribute to knowledge in this emerging field by considering the knowledge from a value creation and capture perspective. The research utilises a multiple case studies approach (Yin, 2014) to try and identify patterns that underlie the practice of teacherpreneurship. The importance of studying this phenomenon lies in the pursuit of solutions to problems of access to K-12 education for children in developing and developed worlds. It also comes at a critical time when internet and communication (Digital) technologies are irreversibly disrupting the traditional education landscape for good. Simply put, learning is increasingly moving online and teacherpreneurs – with their knowledge and experience of curriculum development, learning/teaching methodologies, assessment strategies and learning outcomes – are seen as important conduits of innovation in this new education landscape. The study finds that intrinsic motivation is a major influence on teacherpreneurial behavior. Push factors such as dissatisfaction with the state of the traditional education industry are found to be a contributing influence but not a dominant one. In terms of the entrepreneurial process then, the cross-case analysis also finds that the discovery of opportunities is in all cases fortuitous and that the opportunity is exploited using an effectual approach. Finally, the research offers pragmatic guidance for nascent teacherpreneurs contemplating a start-up venture in the e-learning market space.