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

Real World Scholars

location_on Mt Lebanon Township, United States
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.
Elyse Burden, Co-founder
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


HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
48 000
Updated on October 2nd, 2021
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 EdCorps 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 You can also contact Real World Scholars by emailing


See this innovation in action

Transforming Students Into Entrepreneurs [Video]
Elyse Burden shares about Transforming Students into Entrepreneurs.
Matt's Story #ItTakesATeacher
Distance Learning Sparks a Business
Bringing My Entrepreneurial Journey Into the Classroom
One EdCorp, Two Classrooms - EdCorps
A look at EdCorps in two EdTech classrooms.
Students Focused on Clients
Working From Home: EdCorps Persist
Radical Self-Love: A 3rd Grade Project
3rd graders tackle social and emotional well-being.
DireLights & The Growth Process
Small Town Studios Do Big Things
Thriving During Virtual Learning
Inspirations Through Podcasting
Student-Led Businesses Make Big Impact
Young E-Commerce CEO's
When Compliments Become Something More
Building Beyond the Classroom


Achievements & Awards

May 2019
Completed Jobs for the Future Labs Accelerator
May 2019
Students reach profits of $300k+!
May 2018
Elyse Burden-Forbes 30 Under 30 Education

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Start It Up
Some classrooms begin with a product in mind, and some don’t know where to start! It’s a good idea for the students to get on the same page with the business mission and goals. From there, they can dig deeper into what they want to sell.
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Move on to Prototype and Production
Dive into prototyping your product ideas and collect feedback throughout the process. At this point, it can be helpful to define Team Roles and Departments that are necessary to make the business run smoothly.
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Tell the World You Exist
The good news is that student entrepreneurs have an awesome story to tell, so get it out there! Design your website and promote it on social media, write a press release, connect with your chamber of commerce, hand out business cards and/or post flyers all around school/town!
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Sell Outside the Box (or School)
We know that students will sell their product within their school community, to friends, parents, and family, but we believe that more learning comes from reaching beyond the school community to gain an authentic audience.
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Develop an Impact Strategy and Giving Campaign
Thinking like an entrepreneur means looking for problems to solve and opportunities to make a positive impact. With so many local and global challenges, it is more important than ever to think about how students can contribute.
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Partner With Us
If this sounds like something you’re interested in and don’t know where to start, then EdCorps may be right for you.
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