Would like to provide a service to schools where create extracurricular student groups in which the children would start a business and run it and revenue generated from the student business would help provide extra funding for the school.. Can schools own a business.
This is an interesting question that is pretty loaded with possible results.
If you've got an idea -- that is awesome. It's now all about the execution of that idea.
With regards to your question of, "Can a school own a business" -- I'd recommend if you have an idea that you approach a school that you have a possible relationship with *already* and speaking to them about this model directly.
A business like this is ideal for starting in the "Lean Startup" (take a look at Eric Ries) approach by testing your initial hypothesis (what is that ONE question that would tell you if this would lead to customer #1 or FAIL fast and then pivot)?
This is a great start.
- mike vizdos
In theory they could own the business as long as the profit of that business were used to further the non-profit work of the school.
The bigger question would be whether the school actually owns the business or whether you as a separate non-profit were operating within the facilities of the school.
If it's a private school. Yes, it can.
But a public school (read: relies on government funding) is legislatively prohibited from owning a business that may lead to an exploitation of students.
However a course like this will have no problem being run to a private or public school as part of the curriculum. A lot of schools teach something similar in a "Small Business" class where students are to go start a business and the success of the business is their grade. The problem begins if you try to make it extra-curricular. In short, the school will likely not allow it.