Entrepreneurship Program

EduMais volunteer, Anna Bowman, hit on a bright idea while planning English classes for final-year pupils in 2018. Why not combine the students’ English learning with a course on entrepreneurship? That way, we could expose them to an array of possibilities for their future lives.

EduMais’s entrepreneurship course was born! As well as expanding practical English vocabulary, the course gives students the chance to develop business skills and experiences that prepare them for life after school.

To design the course, we collaborated with Novos Líderes Empreendedores, a local NGO that provides commercial education to children and adults residing in less privileged areas of Rio de Janeiro. We then adapted the template they supplied to the particular needs and capabilities of Edumais’s students.

During the course, students design a business project to address a need in the community. While continuing to improve their English, they have an invaluable opportunity to picture themselves as business owners.

EduMais's Entrepreneurship group with El Misti hostel owners, their teacher Thais, and volunteer English teacher Anna
Two Entrepreneurship and Enter the Labour Market course students point to their company name, TrashLight, on the whiteboard

How the Course Works

The course takes place for two hours a week during the students’ final school year. The students spend the first few sessions finding the creative inspiration for their project. We encourage them to think about their passions, as well as societal problems and needs in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

Once a problem is identified, the students are asked: so how could we solve it? Working in pairs, students begin to formulate their responses.

After students have selected their project, they start to do their research in English. Using Canvas, an online business development site, they plan their business from beginning to end.

This involves market research, logo design, social media marketing, and financial planning, among other things. Students also have to deliver an elevator pitch, as well as the final presentation of their project, in English.

Broadening Horizons

EduMais’s entrepreneurship course forces students to step outside of their comfort zone. Their confidence in English grows immeasurably and they are equipped with a wide range of useful tools and skills for the future.

The visits of several guest speakers give the students further inspiration. Students hear the stories of successful Brazilian businesses like Holy Fancy, a sustainable backpack company, and El Misti hostel.

Interestingly, inspiration often works both ways. One guest Anna sourced through her professional network, Roberto Sciortino, was so impressed by the students that he decided to return and continue helping out on the course!

Our hope is that some of the first entrepreneurship group’s projects will even come to fruition outside of the classroom. Thanks to Anna’s IronMan fundraiser, we are able to provide mentoring and support to help these talented young people make the next steps.

EduMais's Entrepreneurship Group with backpack company Holy Fancy Director Jeff

Do you have skills and knowledge to share with our budding entrepreneurs?

Get in touch with us to find out how you could contribute!

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