Leah Goold-Haws & Josh Corbelli
Board Game Developers
It’s one thing to conceive, develop, and design a board game, it’s quite another thing to actually LIVE your game. Fortunately for Leah Goold-Haws and Josh Corbelli, their game was about a world they knew how to navigate: entrepreneurship. Leah created Know Opportunity – a board game designed to teach entrepreneurship to young people, and developed it along with her business partner, Josh, but the path from board game conception to global market isn’t your standard brick and mortar business process.
They began by taking the game to school districts and piloted a course using the game in a classroom setting. With that experience under their belts, they self-funded a prototype and started to get requests from educators around the world, in 11 different countries.
“We then sent information about the game to boutique game stores, bookshops, etc, and got their feedback,” recalls Leah, “and used that to create the final prototype.”
Once it was perfected, it was time to move on to manufacturing. “Funding is a critical obstacle for start-ups that are trying to scale,” explains Corbelli. “It’s an absolute necessity. Kickstarters and angel investors can only take you so far, and you’re putting up so much of your own revenue that traditional banks won’t like that.”
They went to the traditional lending sources first, but Superior California Economic Development was able to look at the fact that Leah was a single mom and entrepreneur. “SCED meets a critical demand for small business,” she says. “They’re a key partner and they’ve proven their willingness to take calculated risks for small businesses.”
With SCED’s support early on in the process, Know Opportunity was able to develop a 36-month curriculum and begin manufacturing, which was completed in 2016 and selling 2-3 units per week on Amazon.com by that fall.
“You hear a lot about relationship building, and SCED is a testament to that,” Josh stresses. “We built a relationship with Ryan, and he understood everything we’d invested into the project.”
The game takes entrepreneurs through the zig-zagging ups and downs of the early stages, with opportunity and setback cards throughout, before sending players on the looping roller coaster of global markets. Along the way, you can play the Partner Up card, providing competitive opportunities to partner on large deals, mitigating losses and growing your cash flow. It’s almost as if the game creators were drawing from a certain real-life experience….