OBI Licensing of Outward Bound Schools

Outward Bound International is responsible for the licensing of Outward Bound Schools around the world.  Only licensed Schools can use the name “Outward Bound” and the associated compass rose trademark.

OBI has a three-step licensing process designed to help new Schools develop appropriate plans to succeed in their country. The process starts with Exploratory Status, then may proceed to Provisional Licensing and then completes with Full Licensing.

OBI Licensing Process

1. Exploratory Status 2. Provisional License 3. Full License
Exploratory Status allows the Party to use the Outward Bound name only on marketing and fund raising materials for a period of one year. An extension for a further year may be considered at the discretion of the OBI Board.

This is granted following the submission of a formal application (which also involves a meeting with the OBI Screening Committee).

Provisional License permits the operation of programs using the Outward Bound name once the Business Plan and Operating Plan are approved.  This status is for three years.

This is granted following satisfactory implementation of the plan presented at Exploratory Status.

Full license is granted by OBI upon review of a viable, safe, high quality ongoing Outward Bound operation.

OBI continues to review progress of full license schools.

If you are interested in applying for Exploratory Status you should submit an application (that provides the following detail) to the Executive Director OBI:

  • Details of a need for Outward Bound in the country
  • What the mission and vision is of the applicant organisation
  • Background of those who will support the new School (ideally representing diverse segments of society)
  • The general economic model that will be explored and where participants and funding will come from
  • The anticipated scale of operations and the program delivery model.

Payment of a US$5,000 fee is required before Exploratory Status is granted to cover OBI costs of consulting on program development.


In providing the above information you are encouraged you to consider how you will move to the second stage in the licensing process – the Provisional License.  You should be aware that the OBI Screening Committee will look to see how your Exploratory Status application addresses these areas:

To gain a Provisional License you must (the following is an excerpt of our full requirements):

  • Have a board of representative and influential persons to provide guidance, vision, enthusiasm and resources
  • Have sufficient startup funding to cover not only start-up operations but also the licensing fee and trademark registration. The OBI Board, on a case-by-case basis, will designate the amount of start-up operational funding.
  • Maintain and promote the Outward Bound philosophy based on the concepts of Kurt Hahn and follow the spirit of the international mission statement
  • Have a business plan that demonstrates a sound business base with a reasonable prospect for financial viability
  • Have nonprofit status (or equivalent)
  • Have solid financial control systems
  • Hire staff with sufficient Outward Bound experience to guide the educational aims and run operations of the school. This may include an experienced Outward Bound staff member from an established school.
  • Place a strong emphasis on programs for youth of the country
  • Be open to anyone, regardless of race, religion, colour, physical or mental ability, social or educational background
  • Have a plan to be able to provide financial assistance to persons wishing to attend courses but who are unable to afford the fees.