Educational innovators get very excited about project-based learning, and one franchise — currently on our New Franchise Opportunities page — is bringing that exciting opportunity to parents and educators.
Collaboration is one of the key 21st century skills, increasingly important in modern workplaces and tested for by prospective employers. Yet collaboration is not only not covered in the average classroom — it can actually be discouraged by a “do your own work” mentality. Critical thinking is another essential 21st century skill, but it too can get trimmed from school programs when funding is tight. Cooperative problem solving is often missing from school curricula as teachers are tasked with preparing kids for tests or encouraged to concentrate on “basics. Challenge Island wants to address that gap between classroom and workforce with classes, in-school field trips, and birthday parties. If you like kids, it may be just the franchise business opportunity for you.
Challenge Island puts kids together in cooperative “tribes” to experiment with new concepts and to use group efforts to solve problems. Franchisees help students work together to come up with the best solution to a problem, whether it’s building a bridge over shark-infested waters or creating the best new ice cream flavor. Each challenge is called a “thinking quest,” and is set up in an “island” that helps to keep the excitement contained without limiting creativity. New challenges are added regularly, and all the challenges focus on high-priority STEM (science, math, engineering, and technology) skills as well as basic academic skills and targeted 21st century skills.
Parents and educators love the programs because they see the results and feel their money is well spent. Students come in droves to the programs because it’s fun. Kids bring their friends with them year after year to summer camp and after-school programs, and educators see the positive impact of Challenge Island programming in their classrooms.
For franchisees, the investment level is low, as are the costs of operating, especially when compared to other after-school enrichment programs. Franchisees are required to have $25,000 minimum in cash and can expect to invest between $25,000 and $35,000. There is no minimum net worth so this is a great opportunity for those looking to grow their wealth with young children of their own.
The franchise is flexible because the program is structured around the school year. Programs are offered in concurrence with the regular school year and franchisees can opt for part-time or full-time franchising—it’s just as much work as a franchisee wants to take on. It’s a great arrangement for parents of school-aged children who want to have summers off to spend time together. The program also has no national competitors because of the unique business model.
The program thrives by offering affordable after-school programming and birthday parties to families, as well as in-school programming for schools. Challenge Island targets families that put education first on their list of priorities, so it’s less sensitive to to the economy than purely recreational kids’ franchises. At the same time, since schools are also customers, franchisees have more than one income stream. Franchisees who are willing and able to work with schools on grant funding are likely to see a lot of action from area schools.