Educating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Explore your gifts.
Share them with the world.

A Gap Year Program

What is Markao Business Academy?

The Academy was created for young adults in response to the question,

“How can I create a meaningful career while being true to myself?”

Markao’s 10-month intensive education offers high school graduates the necessary skills to create a viable business, and also the resources and resilience needed to confidently navigate life’s challenges.

Markao Academy guides you to connect more deeply with who you are, and to make a quality, sustainable living aligned with your unique talents and passions.

Who is Markao for?

Maybe you've been looking for an affordable alternative to college, or perhaps a supplement to a degree that will allow you to be self-employed. Or maybe you want a gap year to explore yourself deeply and experiment with creating a meaningful way of making a living. If you've been thinking about any of these things, Markao will support you to:

If you have curiosity, courage, and commitment to discover and follow your calling while building meaningful relationships, you can build a thriving business for yourself that you feel proud of and fulfilled by.

“All humans are entrepreneurs, not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in the human DNA.”
Reid Hoffman
Co-founder of

A New
Post-High School Option

Welcome to

Markao is education built for the future. 

Markao Business Academy offers high school graduates the option to discover who they are and what their passions are, and then work with their inherent strengths and talents to turn those passions into a fulfilling and successful business.  

You get to be your own boss, and focus on what’s most meaningful to you.

Markao is an affordable option that can make a gap year extremely valuable, giving you skills, perspective, and relationships that will support your livelihood and your deepest self-exploration.

Our program can also serve as an alternative to college, or be a powerful ally and complement to other trainings you wish to apply.

Students in the Markao Academy receive personalized ongoing mentoring from experienced business/life coaches, teachers and entrepreneurs, while implementing real, hands-on projects that result in valuable skills and a viable business.

Markao Business Academy creates an empowering foundation for young adults to grow and thrive.

Our Guiding Principles


Mission could be thought of as our calling, that inner sense of something we’re drawn to do that feels aligned with why we’re here on this planet. Markao helps you find and stay connected with your unique mission, path and purpose, both in business and in life.


We believe authenticity and integrity are paramount to generating fulfillment in both business and life.  Markao’s teachings emphasize collaboration over competition, generosity over scarcity, and blending wisdom with tried and true knowledge to be sustained financially while being yourself. 


Relevance ensures that what we do relates to our values and those we wish to serve. We emphasize relationship building and ‘net-caring’ that directly support and improve the lives of those we interact with. We teach you how to create products and services that resonate with those who need them, while staying aligned with your mission and purpose.


Kai = Change. Zen = Good. The Japanese term Kaizen is about continuously striving to change for the better, improving ourselves and our businesses, and thereby improving our lives. Markao shows you how to face challenges and difficulties head on, repairing or adjusting as needed so that further issues are mitigated, and higher levels of quality, in your business, relationships and life, are reached. 


When we appreciate our experience, we learn. Markao helps you to gratefully accept all experiences as valuable learning, celebrating your progress and appreciating others along the way. Cultivating gratitude allows us to see the opportunities and possibilities in the challenges, and find greater connection to our life and work.


Entrepreneurship is about seeing the possibilities that exist, and offering our skills and passions to meet them. A true entrepreneur is able to reframe problems and challenges as opportunities for innovation, growth, connection, and, well, profit…not only financial profit, but personal, spiritual and community profit.

Our Areas of Focus

Know Yourself

Connect with your strengths and talents, get clarity on your vision, and learn to apply your passions to creating a viable business.

Quality Leadership

Cultivate confident communication, trust, management skills and effectiveness, while practicing joyful productivity.

Building Foundations

Create platforms that clearly communicate your message, make you visible, and attract interested clients.

Product Development

Learn all the steps to create products and services that generate income and make you proud.

Personal Guidance

Receive 1:1 mentorship and guidance to help you through each project and every step of the journey to creating your business.


Learn to collaborate and connect with others, building quality relationships that help you build your business and grow.

Authentic Marketing

Learn how to do market research, advertise effectively, be consistently visible and resonate with your ideal customers, all while staying true to yourself.

Financial Management

Get clear on how to manage the financial side of life and business, staying on top of your bottom line, and being aware of requirements.

Program Components

Want to know more about what a year in the life of a Markao student looks like?

Now Accepting Applications

for Next
Enrollment Date
First cohort
started Sep 2020

Fill out our no-obligation application, and let’s talk about possibilities to support you in getting to know yourself better, and putting your passions into working for yourself. 

If you’d love to join us, don’t let money be an issue.
View tuition info on our FAQs page,
and Email us to discuss options.

Schedule a conversation with us to learn more.

Speak with co-founder Kim Marie to discuss your questions and eligibility for Markao Academy.

Meet Our Founders & Instructors

Get to know our founders, George Kao and Kim Marie, as they share how Markao came to be, and what inspired them to bring this program to life.

George Kao

George Kao is an "authentic business coach" who advocates for integrity and compassion in marketing, instead of the predatory tactics that we've all experienced as consumers. George has self-published 4 books, created over a dozen online courses, has personally coached hundreds of clients, and offers many free videos about authentic marketing and joyful productivity at his website,

Kim Marie

Kim Marie is a life and leadership coach blending her diverse background in corporate, military, non-profit, government, and small business cultures, with the work of human development, life/family/vocational balance, and personal and professional leadership to support clients to remember who they are, reconnect to what matters, and step into the life they envision for themselves. You can learn more about Kim at

“Don’t buy society’s definition of success because it’s not working for anyone.”
Martha Stewart
Businesswoman & Writer

Step into a meaningful and successful future.

Join Markao Business Academy

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