Junior Entrepreneurs' Expo
For the summer holidays. my grand-daughter CJ was enrolled in a summer camp program called College For Kids at a local community college. Among the range of courses including languages, design, art, theatre sports and more, for her first two weeks she chose robotics, theatre improv and a class with the intriguing title, "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs".
Designed for ages 9 to 16 years, "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs" runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes each day over 8 days, culminating on Day 8 with the Junior Entrepreneurs Business Expo. The concept is to teach children how they can "start a business on a shoestring".
Teacher Josh Ballard has been involved with and teaching this course for fifteen years. He commented that he never fails to be impressed by the fact that each year on day one, he meets a group of children, most of whom have no idea of what a business entails, and have not even thought about a type of product or service they could sell. Yet 8 days later, each of these young people has come up with a business concept, made their products and is ready to launch their business at the Expo.
The first I heard about CJ's business plan concept, to sell her hand crafted 100% cotton Pot Holders, was just before leaving for California, when I received an email from her, asking if I would write a recommendation for her product.
CJ had made a Pot Holder for me three years previously as a birthday gift. I loved her colour choices of pink, purple and green and I have used the Pot Holder frequently over the three years. As you can see by the picture in the review poster above it still looks as good as new. So I felt that I could write a very good review of her product and agreed to do so.
I arrived in the OC for a visit on the weekend before the Expo week. During the days preceding the Expo I was impressed by CJ's diligence as she pondered different designs and colour palettes, making Pot Holder after Pot Holder to ensure that she had a good stock for her booth. I listened as she worked out how to formulate the best price to ask for her product, and she discussed cost of production, materials and time, her research on prices of Pot Holders, and what she thought would be an acceptable price at which to sell them. What a great way to teach the commercial value of things in this consumer -oriented age.
When the day of the Expo arrived I left her to set up her display and wandered around the booths. I was impressed at the work that these young people had put in to make their products, and the ingenuity of some of the ideas. Here are just some of the concepts the students came up with.
Melike was selling reusable gift bags while at the stall next to her, friends Ava and Daria had a table of home made bath bombs and foot scrubs. Niela crafted attractive homemade candles.
Natalie was selling hair bows and "stress" balls (flour-filled balloons) and next to her CJ was selling her artisan crafted pot holders and a series of pre-read Rainbow Magic Fairy books.
Among edible items for sale, Olivia's table with four flavours of macaroons including lemon, raspberry and chocolate, was a great hit.
Across the way from her Sammi made a snack food for her company "I Can't stop Eating This." Her display was very enticing and she offered samples to try. Steven's business was making smoothies on the spot to sell.
Sophia had a booth of cards. I found one for an upcoming birthday. Gabby was selling small cacti which she had put to root.
Friends Eric and Aditya were selling marshmallow "guns" together with packets of marshmallows for shooting out. Naturally that item was the first choice of my little grandson when he went off to spend the 5 dollars I gave him to buy things at the Expo.
Ajay's business was an on-line service providing a souvenir of the Expo. He took a digital photograph, photo shopped to fix background or what other changes you want, and added a title, and then emailed it to you. I asked for a faded background which I got.
As in any class, different students would have got more or less out of the experience. For several of the children in the class this was their second or even third time doing this course.
CJ told me that there were things things she would do a bit differently next time and she hoped she could do the class again next summer. But most important of all, she had a lot of fun in this class and at the Expo, and learned how important it is to work at something you love.
If you want to find out more about this fun and educational summer course for kids, check out the link.