OCSB students build businesses to support social causes

With the Christmas season in full swing, elementary students in the Ottawa Catholic Board’s Social Entrepreneurs Program have been busier than Christmas elves! The program allows students to build a social enterprise with the guidance of a teacher and experienced volunteer business mentor. 

Students research social issues, pick a charity, create a product, service or awareness campaign and then build a social enterprise! Our budding entrepreneurs develop innovative mindsets through this program, gaining practical business experience while making a difference in the world. 

COVID-19 did not derail this innovative program; instead, the organizers lead by example and adapted the program to meet the ever-changing needs of how businesses cope while operating a company during a pandemic. They advocated for inventive solutions that included in-person and virtual student learning. No aspect of the program was diminished. In fact, it was enhanced by bringing volunteer business mentors into the classroom through video conferencing, giving students access to resources, partners, and experts worldwide.

This is a shining example of Deep Learning– an approach to learning embraced by the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Deep Learning sticks with students for life and allows them to develop six practical competencies they will take with them for the rest of their lives: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship and character. We don’t believe students should have to wait for the future to impact the world. They can and are making a difference in their communities now.

The students partnered with the Ottawa-based company Shopify to learn how an online store can turn anyone into a worldwide social entrepreneur with a real storefront. This strategic learning partnership with Shopify is just one example of how our students have learned from one of the best in the world, expanding the walls of their classroom as far as the internet can take them. No more play money for these students! Check out some of the student Shopify stores and check back often as more stores will be opening soon!

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