During the COVID pandemic, much of life and learning went virtual, and we all thought we could get by just fine doing everything on Amazon and Zoom. But more recently, we have come to find out just how important in-person connections and interactions are – for business, pleasure and especially education.
While it’s great we have technology to help us do things remotely, Baton Rouge entrepreneurs are helping people realize that institutions like libraries and brick-and-mortar learning spaces play an invaluable role in the learning process, for kids and adults.
Baton Rouge resident Tony Zanders is founder and CEO of Skilltype, a talent management platform that Tony created in 2018 specifically to help libraries better attract, train and retain personnel so they will be better able to compete in the 21st century.
Tony hit upon the idea for Skilltype several years ago, when he realized that many libraries struggle with personnel problems caused by the fact that the training and professional development programs for library employees are still structured around the 20th century model of libraries, which were largely about collections, and have failed to take into account what today’s libraries really need.
Skilltype is a proprietary software that helps train library personnel and then match them to library systems in need. Tony is an ed tech entrepreneur, who worked at Ex Libris and EBSCO, both large library database companies, before founding Skilltype.
Amanda Vincent is founder, owner and CEO of Studyville, which is based off the We Work shared office space concept but is an academic workspace for teens. Amanda formed the company in Baton Rouge in 2020, after fighting the homework battle from the front lines of her living room during the COVID lockdown. She and her husband Benn tried every form of tutoring, coercion, manipulation, and textbook throwing until they realized there had to be a better way – and Studyville was born.
The venture isn’t Amanda’s first: she co-founded Opera Louisiane in 2007 and later started the Fur Ball, the black tie dog-friendly fundraiser that benefits the Companion Animal Alliance. She figured if she could convince people to dress in ball gowns and bring their dogs with them to a ball, she could probably also convince them that studying could be cool!
Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Photos by Erik Otts.
Check out another lunchtime conversation with Baton Rouge entrepreneurs, from old school travel to NFTs.