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Real World Scholars

location_on San Diego, United States

Dissolving the walls of the classroom and leveraging entrepreneurship as a force for learning.

When students are given the chance to do real-world work – the kinds that lights them up and allows them to impact the world around them – something magical happens. That’s why we created EdCorps, which allows classrooms to engage in hands-on entrepreneurial learning and build a student-run business, connecting students and their learning to the community and the world around them.

HundrED 2022

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

2014

Established

48K

Children/users

1

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Target group
Students
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
We’re creating space for young people to explore their interests and talents while engaging in real-world entrepreneurial experiences to develop the skills they will need to thrive.
Elyse Burden, Co-founder

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

During a time when the entrepreneurial mindset and skill set are critical for students to adapt to evolving world and workforce, many aren’t given the chance to gain the experience and 21st skills they need to thrive. We developed EdCorps – which allows any K-12 classroom to start a student-led business – in order to make hands-on entrepreneurial learning a possibility for any classroom.

How does your innovation work in practice?


Every educator receives access to the EdCorps Dashboard (a classroom-friendly e-commerce platform), seed funding, and the curricular resources needed to help them start a business with their students. Because the program is flexible, educators can outfit it to student interest or an existing project, creating opportunities for a relevant, student-driven learning experience.

Students work together and can use a variety of tools and resources to navigate their entrepreneurial journey. Along the way, they’re encouraged to connect their work with people beyond the classroom – like mentors, customers, and partners in their community.

Students determine how they use their profits – i.e. how much they invest in their business and how much they give back to their community. EdCorps has supported 550+ student-run businesses in 34 states, creating almost $400,000 in profits for local communities and powerful 21st learning experiences for over 48,000 students.

How has it been spreading?

Since launching EdCorps as a flexible, hands-on entrepreneurship platform in 2015, there has been national interest. Across K-12, educators are finding ways to use entrepreneurship for core learning, student engagement and whole child development. As a result, one student-run business at a school often becomes two or three. Today, there are communities of EdCorps educators nationwide, in places like Pittsburgh, Chattanooga, and San Diego. Additionally, partnerships like the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools EdCorps Initiative have allowed us to support educators integrating entrepreneurship in skilled trades classrooms. With Communities of Practice formed around both geography and content area, we look forward to finding more partners looking to support students unlocking their potential.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

If you are interested in bringing EdCorps to your classroom, school, or community, visit our website at www.realworldscholars.org. You can also contact Real World Scholars by emailing contact@realworldscholars.org.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
This innovation is very viable to scale up, especially because of the clear online platform that has been established. Scalability is also evident in the growing access across state lines.
Using entrepreneurship as a vehicle to stimulate real world learning helps develop problem solving, financial acumen, analytical thinking, collaboration, and other important skills for young people to test out in personal and professional life.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Media

Building Beyond the Classroom: Golden Oaks Designs, Episode 1 (VIDEO)
In the first episode of this ongoing series, learn about Golden Oaks Designs - a student-led business at Keystone Oaks High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hear directly from students about their experiences participating in EdCorps, as well as thoughts from their teachers on what it's like to manage a business in the classroom. Produced by Prominence Films, Inc.Building Beyond The Classroom: Golden Oaks Designs, Episode 1 (VIDEO)
Building Beyond the Classroom: IvyFresh, Episode 2 (VIDEO)
In the second episode of the ongoing series, hear from the student entrepreneurs of Ivy Fresh - an environmentally-focused business at Ivy Academy near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hear directly from students about their experiences participating in EdCorps, and why they chose to focus on bat conservation this year. Produced by Prominence Films, Inc.Building Beyond The Classroom: IvyFresh, Episode 2 (VIDEO)
Building Beyond the Classroom: Wyoming307 Woodworkers, Episode 3 (VIDEO)
EdCorps: Building Beyond the Business – Episode 3Learn about Wyoming307 Woodworkers - a student-led business in Guernsey, WY. Hear directly from students about their experiences participating in EdCorps and why they believe skilled trades education is so important. 
Building Beyond the Classroom: Tree Transformation, Episode 4 (VIDEO)
In the fourth episode of the series, learn about Tree Transformation - a student-led business in Colfax, CA, where students are selling "goods from the woods." Listen to students share their perspectives on the EdCorps experience and why they believe skilled trades education and entrepreneurial learning experiences are critical. Produced by Prominence Films, Inc. 
Transforming Students Into Entrepreneurs (VIDEO)
Elyse Burden shares about Transforming Students into Entrepreneurs.
Matt's Story #ItTakesATeacher
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2FXk2kNEhQ&t=3s
Distance Learning Sparks a Business
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/distance-learning-sparks-a-home-business
Bringing My Entrepreneurial Journey Into the Classroom
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/bringing-my-entrepreneurial-journey-into-the-classroom
One EdCorp, Two Classrooms - EdCorps
A look at EdCorps in two EdTech classrooms.https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/one-edcorp-two-classrooms
Students Focused on Clients
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/forget-the-grade-let-s-focus-on-clients-instead
Working From Home: EdCorps Persist
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/working-from-home-how-one-student-s-basement-became-production-headquarters
Radical Self-Love: A 3rd Grade Project
3rd graders tackle social and emotional well-being.https://hthunboxed.org/unboxed_posts/radical-self-love-a-3rd-grade-project-story/
DireLights & The Growth Process
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/direlights-growth-as-a-process
Small Town Studios Do Big Things
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/small-town-studios-does-big-things
Thriving During Virtual Learning
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/how-vida-dreamers-have-thrived-during-virtual-learning
Inspirations Through Podcasting
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/inspirations-through-podcasting
Student-Led Businesses Make Big Impact
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/student-led-businesses-make-a-big-impact
Young E-Commerce CEO's
https://www.kidsburgh.org/these-pittsburgh-kids-are-e-commerce-ceos-via-edcorps/
When Compliments Become Something More
https://www.realworldscholars.org/post/when-compliments-become-something-more
Building Beyond the Classroom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8kNdHFKtso

Steps

Start It Up

This is exciting - it’s time to choose the product to make and sell! Be sure to brainstorm lots of ideas, and then narrow down to a few best options. Then take the time to consider which is best for the class. Students should have voice and choice as to the products they want to create and sell - it's their business.

They should make something that excites them. It should be something they can produce, package, and ship from the classroom. It also should be something people want to buy! 

Use a helpful tool like the Business Model Canvas to discuss each part of the business. 

Move on to Prototype and Production

Encourage students to think about their hobbies, strengths, and skills. Everyone can find a place whether it be in marketing, sales, finance, production, or other ways to support the business.


Tell the World You Exist

Find a local marketing or social media expert to connect with the students and give feedback on their marketing materials.


Sell Outside the Box (or School)

We encourage utilizing an e-commerce platform as one of the most exciting ways to sell the products. Students enjoy seeing orders come in from around the country as people stumble across their websites. There are also many ways to sell product locally like pop-up shops, farmers markets, school events, collaborations with regional store owners, and more. Students can brainstorm and get very creative with this. 


Develop an Impact Strategy and Giving Campaign

To put it simply, a social impact strategy is a plan for the business to use its success to positively impact the lives of others. This can take many different forms - charitable donations, paying it forward, and community cleanup are just a few examples.  

This is the opportunity to think about how students want to make the world and their community a better place and come up with a plan to make it happen! The strategy should reflect the company mission, thinking about what’s important and how students can make a difference in the lives of others.  

The goals should be ambitious but attainable. Students will want to maximize the positive impact of their business, but be realistic about possible time or resource limitations. 

It’s also important to remember that they should be reinvesting in their own business too, so no need to donate all the profits!



Partner With Us

We provide support, technology, and resources to make the entrepreneurial process easier on you, the educator. Our applications open every spring for the following school year. Get in touch with us for more information.


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