In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Snapology. The company uses building blocks (like LEGOs) and technology to combine play with education, for kids one to 14 years of age. Some of the classes include engineering, science, architecture, robotics, among others. The company was founded in 2011 by sisters Lisa and Laura Coe.
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“Our parents were entrepreneurs,” Laura Coe said. “We sort of grew up with an entrepreneurial background, helping in whatever way we could.”
Laura, after looking into LEGO programs for her son, decided she wanted to bring a similar program to Pittsburgh, where she lived.
Today, the company’s curriculum includes science, math, engineering, architecture, animation and more.
“The idea is that it’s passive learning,” Coe said. “Kids have so much fun that they don’t know they’re learning. We don’t just let them build things, we teach them the engineering behind it.”
According to Coe, every theme is mapped to specific Common Core requirements, since the company offers classes to schools districts, with the core business being elementary school ages.
“The Common Core made it easier in the business aspect for mapping curriculum,” Coe said. “It made our programs more popular. Teachers are saying they can’t be as creative, so we’ve found that they are excited to offer our programs to their students.”
Snapology makes sure all of their programs are written to include children with special needs.
“We cater to special needs children and love to have them in our programs,” Coe said. “LEGOs have been very beneficial to our therapy programs. We are happy to provide a place for special needs children where they can learn different skills and their parents can feel safe.”
Originally, Coe said Snapology started under a licensing model, where they would license the curriculum to people. Recently, the company switched to franchising, according to Coe.
“We realized about a year ago that it would be more beneficial to owners and us [the company] to be in a franchise model,” Coe said. “Our goal is to be an owner-friendly franchise. We don’t want it to be run like a dictatorship. We encourage owners to speak with one another and to give us feedback.”
Today, Snapology has 22 locations, including one in Canada, and is looking to expand in the future.
“We are focusing on the U.S. and Canada right now,” Coe said. “Our goal is to open five locations by the end of this year, and 20 new franchises a year for the next five years. We want to grow at a manageable pace to make sure we can service our franchisees.”