Classroom learning benefits charities

February 11, 2014
Online Bachelor of Commerce students apply their learning to e-commerce projects for charity.

The mercury dipped to -2C as Daniel Yeh washed a car on his lunch hour last week.

The saving grace? It was a waterless carwash and part of his e-commerce business EnviroWash, launched as an assignment through Royal Roads’ Bachelor of Commerce.   

Yeh is one of 23 students participating in the university’s 10th annual Online Venture Challenge. The students, organized in teams, are given $5 and one month to launch an e-commerce venture in support of the charity of their choice (with great success – the challenges have raised more than $30,000). The assignment is designed to put theory into practice for the hands-on friendly competition.

The Venture Challenge, which launched in 2010, runs three times a year – once with on-campus BCom students and twice a year with online BCom classes. The current online Venture Challenge runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 27.

“They discover for themselves what is important, challenging, fun or exciting about starting an online business,” says Prof. Geoff Archer. “Reading things in a book or hearing them from your professor only goes so far. People don’t really own knowledge until they create it themselves.”

Knowledge and confidence go hand in hand with this assignment, says student Raquel Love, who is on the team responsible for Karma Shop. “It’s been a real learning experience. I had no idea I would get so passionate about it and really want to hustle to make it happen. I just feel so much more confident than I ever thought I would have been.”

It’s also about the teamwork and support from her classmates, a sentiment Yeh echoes. “We have been together for the last year and a half, and we have grown to know each other and trust each other,” he says. “Utilizing the network we all have is really valuable.”

“Running a business isn’t just about one person – everybody takes a part,” Love says. “That’s part of this course as well. The teamwork and team-based learning has really helped with this venture challenge as well.”

Learn more about the businesses

  • Bags4Breakfast
    Reusable bags in support of Food First Foundation, a charity that runs breakfast programs for children in the Northwest Territories.
  • Cooking for Charity
    An electronic cookbook with 25 recipes based on French, Moroccan, Indian, and Canadian cooking in support of Breakfast Club Canada, an organization that provides healthy breakfasts for youth across Canada.
  • EnviroWash
    Mobile car wash provider servicing the Greater Vancouver area in support of WaterCan, a leading Canadian charity dedicated to fight global poverty by helping the world's poorest people gain access to clean water.
  • Karma Shop
    Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Daniel Le Chocolat Belge sales in support of the Heart & Stroke Foundation BC & Yukon and the BC SPCA.

  • Miles Yonder
    Small business consulting firm specializing in assisting entrepreneurs in developing countries. Social ventures include Chickens on a Mission, where people can sponsor chickens for a farm project in Belize.