Impact Fund Grant Recipient Spotlight - Poudre High School's Escape Room!
By Jessica Dieken
We love it when students see their ideas go from paper to reality. That moment when all of those brainstorms, conversations and hard work pays off. That happens in environments where students are giving permission to fail, take risks and have the opportunity to take charge of their learning experience.
This is exactly what is happening at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colo.
Students in the business leadership class at Poudre had an idea to take all of the lessons they have learned and bring it to life through a student-led business. With the help of their business leadership teacher, this core group of students went through the process of writing a grant for our Impact Fund, asking for an investment into their business that would help inspire other students to explore their entrepreneurial goals and raise money for their business class.
Our Grant Review Committee met to review their grant application and were immediately intrigued in their plans. This project hit some core ideas that OtterCares is always excited to invest in:
- Intentional entrepreneurial education and environments that encourage and inspire students to grow entrepreneurial skills and mindsets.
- Student-led projects and learning opportunities where students truly own their education.
- Collaboration with other classes, students and departments to ensure this project impacts as many students as possible.
With these key elements highlighted in their grant application, the Grant Review Committee asked the OtterCares team to connect with the students to hear more about their business plans.
We invited the four students to our offices to hear their business pitch. Our goal was to better understand, from the students’ perspective, how their business would run, how they would make a profit and how, should we be interested, our investment into their business would help.
The students arrived at our office, professionally dressed and ready to impress! Prepared to blow our minds, the students brought with them a solid presentation and a nicely bound portfolio that included their budget, marketing plan and overview of their business plan. Each student had a part in the presentation, providing background on how they came up with the escape room business idea, the challenges they had already experienced through the start-up process and their goals and vision for the business Poudre. Obviously passionate about this project, their business teacher had helped kick start this project by providing some small funds that the students meticulously budgeted to ensure each dollar was maximized. They started to market the escape room, created puzzles for the activities and had acquired pieces of furniture they needed through Craigslist. At the end of their presentation, we had the opportunity to ask questions, which they answered with confidence.
At the end of the presentation, the staff at OtterCares was blown away! The students had put a ton of time and energy into not only creating the business plan and going through the start-up process, but also effectively demonstrated all of the learnings they had acquired through their business classes. We happily awarded their project with a grant to help get it started!
We are so excited to see what happens next for Escape 970! Congratulations to these incredible students!
Check out their student-ran business on Instagram at @poudre_escape!