A group of people sitting around a laptop computer.

An ed-tech entrepreneur reflects on the first quarter of 2024

The new year is off to a slow start for several industries—according to the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index Q1-2024 Trends, 11 out of 12 sectors tracked by the Index saw declining small business employment in Q1 2024. The wholesale trade sector (NAICS 41-42) was the only exception.

But there is good news. Year-over-year (comparing March 2024 to March 2023), seven of the 12 sectors tracked by the Index had positive annual growth rates.

The education and health services sector (NAICS 61-62) is a particularly bright spot. This sector added more jobs at small businesses than any other within the last 12 months, employing about 2.4M people at the close of the first quarter.

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Operating within the ed-tech sector, we target both domestic and international markets, aiming to address the needs of the 1.3 billion students worldwide who lack access to educational digital resources.
Ryan Ross, Olivia Education

We spoke to Ryan Ross, owner and founder of Olivia Education based in Palo Alto, CA. “Olivia's edge technology platform provides last-mile delivery of Education Digital Resources for schools and students facing broadband access challenges,” Ross explains.

“Operating within the ed-tech sector, we target both domestic and international markets, aiming to address the needs of the 1.3 billion students worldwide who lack access to educational digital resources."

Ross feels most optimistic about opportunities on the international market in 2024 and beyond—places where governments are increasing funding for education. He’s feeling less optimistic about the US market, largely due to the decreased federal funding for education.

Nonetheless, Ross feels confident that 2024 will be a good year for business. Olivia Education currently has four full-time employees in addition to some contract workers. While the company met its revenue and sales targets for 2023, Ross says he isn’t planning to hire additional staff at this time.


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