Totally agree that the "start-up culture phase" is a big fail :)! But you would agree, that one learns as much (or sometimes more) from what was wrong - sometimes even more than from what was right? That's pretty integral to designing and learning - right?
About that being the past and current market. My comments weren't really so much in the context of the market as in the context of basics tenets of human behaviour, habit forming, shifting and breaking patterns! That hasn't evolved/changed as fast as other changes as civilisation progressed, neither is it likely to so very soon. So extrapolation by even 50 years from now doesn't change things a whole lot about human motivations and behaviour - just systems within which they function change.
In any case, it looks like you are doing all the right things in trying to get to know your users, their behaviours and habits well :) Good luck.
Thanks for offering larger context on the aspirations of this platform. To first clarify TG is simply "target group".
Crowdfunding and peer review scholarships would indeed be very powerful in driving some of that cultural shift away from traditional schooling.
If the top target groups' aspirations are more entrepreneurial/ self employed: They would be broken down further into primary sector, secondary sector, tertiary sector. In the primary sector dependence on credibility from either institutions and peers is low - as long as one learns to create value, one can do so without dependency of other believing one can do so. This is even more so if one can prove that value quickly and doesn't need external validation/certification.
In both secondary and tertiary sectors there is a significant level of dependency of the industry/business ecosystem (not so much from mass consumer) to be able generate funds, convince collaborators to partner and in the case of those in consulting/advisory/agency business - to convince organisations to buy services. All of these usually required validation of ability to create value before any outside the immediate "circle of trust" for that individual would engage. Therefore some of my comments before would be valid even for those who do not seek employment.
Also, usually, work experience in specific domains or across many is useful to even those with a primarily entrepreneur bend. Call it apprenticeship if you like - not so much "employment" since it's just a means to an end.
While there is a rising trend of students straight out of college going entrepreneurial or aspiring to do so. Increasingly, there is a movement towards more "mature entrepreneurs" i.e those who have gain experience from other businesses or working with other groups or companies before getting into their own. While there is a lot of chatter around this trend - this one is as good for the numbers it provides as any other, even more recent ones out there http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/09/03/do-older-or-younger-entrepreneurs-have-the-greater-advantage/#32c2f5f03377
My comments come from consulting to multiple startups over the last couple of decades - starting pretty much at the time innovation based start-ups first started. Have seen plenty of different stages through which it's been - good, bad and ugly. One of the areas that always needed more intense work was to have the entrepreneur step back from the aspirational final product/platform to create that bridge to enable cultural and behavioural shifts from existing habits/perceptions/assumptions. In your case - the flag would be "The system I'm designing is for people who don't want to work for someone else, they are young leaders and they want to run their own organizations. So their end goal is not a certificate is a life journey. Companies will be salary biding to get one of our grads, because there is nothing out there like us, the students are rare and thus valuable." I would say this is the final outcome/aspirational product. But you have to bring folks with you "over the bridge" to get there. While there is a lot more I am sure that you are doing that isn't posted here - and probably impossible to understand without sitting there and hearing it in detail; AS long as you are able to visualize the "bridge" and not just the other side of that "river" everyone needs to get to - you got it all pinned down and moving in the right direction to a successful first version. By everyone I mean all of students with entrepreneurial aspirations, 10% forward thinking parents, bidding companies or perhaps even investors in entrepreneurial businesses.
I sincerely wish for your platform to takes strong roots and succeed :) If this succeeds you solve a problem that probably the whole world would have to thank you for.
Sounds like a great idea! Congratulations on progress on so many prototypes. I am in Mumbai, India - brand and marketing consultant with a son just about to enter the TG for this concept (he's just under 18). This sort of school would have been perfect for him (and his friends that I know of). However, I believe one of the critical barriers to the success of this idea would be be culture/mindset shift required from educators, parents (or other education and lifestyle sponsors) and future employment, entrepreneurial and/or self employment opportunities this would offer. Certificates, degrees and diplomas are most useful when trying to establish credibility for one's abilities or qualifications to get some task/job/action done. Education remains the precursor to being able to make ones living. Also education is sponsored by parents or other caregivers with an eye on future "return on investments" - so that their child is able to be self sufficient in later life. If on platform engagement with these high influence contextual groups has not been considered so far, I would think it would be a good time to start empathising with their needs, hopes, desires and goals to start baking it into the platform. These additional groups would also help keeping platform monetisation in sight - and thereby ease of funding. Imagine for example a FuSchool with direct inputs or sponsorships from future potential employers or even employment guarantees scholarship/sponsorship of courses for the brightest and best in terms of EQ, IQ, psychometrics, aptitude and interest. That would proabably even directly impact parents' and educators' attitudes towards this model. Happy to exchange further notes on firstname.lastname@example.org - if it may be of any help.