Children’s Business Fair highlights student entrepreneurs
Approximately 75 students from ages 5-14 in central Indiana showcased their unique businesses at the inaugural Indianapolis Children’s Business Fair on Saturday. The event, sponsored by Acton Academy Northwest Indianapolis, was the culmination of a weeks-long effort that included planning and developing a marketing strategy in addition to creating the products that would be sold.
“Children are innate entrepreneurs,” said Liz Collar, head of school at Acton Academy. “This is a great opportunity for them to launch their own business and get some valuable experience marketing and selling to the public.”
Collar talked about the importance of introducing entrepreneurship at such a young age in an interview with Inside INdiana Business.
“Entrepreneurship at a young age just teaches them that they are capable of more than they ever thought that they were, that they can do great things, even at a young age, and to take an idea and to see it through all the way to a completed business where they’re making real products and real sales,” Collar said. “It’s such an empowering thing for children to be able to do when they’re young.”
Collar said the program was first announced to students at Acton Academy, who showed great enthusiasm. But she was surprised at how word got out and generated more interest.
“We just started having people register on our website, which really surprised us,” she said. “But you can just tell there’s a genuine interest from the community to do something like this and to celebrate children and to empower them to do amazing things.”
Dozens of students put their products up for sale, including baked goods, jewelry, crafts, artwork and more. Students Addie and Brynn, both nine years old, created Scrub-a-Doubles, a collection of all natural bath products.
“We wanted to be a part of this because as kids, we know that most bath products have very harmful chemicals in them and are bad for our skin,” said Addie. “But not us. We genuinely care what goes into our bodies, because we only get one and that one we get we should care for.”
Collar said the event is more than just setting up a booth and putting up a sign. The students would go door-to-door to do customer surveys, while others did focus groups to gauge interest in their products.
“They start talking about profit and revenue and learning about that sort of thing,” she said. “How do I interact with customers? How do we answer questions? They’re learning all those sorts of things, and it’s instilling tons of confidence in them now that will carry on throughout their life.”
She said the reaction was not only positive from the students, but their parents as well.
“A few parents have come up….and just said they’ve already been in tears, just very genuinely excited for their children to do something like this and to have an opportunity with a real audience to sell, and just to try it out to see do I like being an entrepreneur? Or do I like running my own business? It’s hard work. So I think parents have been very supportive and very excited for their children.”
The event also awarded $50 cash prizes in multiple age groups for “Most Business Potential,” “Most Creative Idea,” and “Most Impressive Presentation.”
The winners were:
- Highest Overall Score – Light Up Your Garden
- Age 5-7 Most Business Potential – Dream Bakery
- Age 5-7 Best Presentation – Crayon Melts
- Age 5-7 Most Creative Idea – Arya’s Plant Nursery
- Age 8-10 Most Business Potential – MVP Sewing
- Age 8-10 Best Presentation – Needle and Threads
- Age 8-10 Most Creative Idea – Spectacular Spinners
- Age 11-14 Most Business Potential – Girl U R Cute
- Age 11-14 Best Presentation – Paw-some Products
- Age 11-14 Most Creative Idea – Polly’s Cute Collection
Collar said the academy plans to make the Children’s Business Fair an annual event, saying, “The sky’s the limit,” for growth potential.