The Children’s Business Fair is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs ages 6-17 to explore business skills in a real-life environment.
Each participant (entrepreneur) pursues her/ his own interests to create a company plan, including a product or service, packaging, and pricing based on costs.
All aspects of participation support children in developing independence, responsibility, creativity and a strong sense of their capability.To enroll, the entrepreneur completes an online application which is reviewed to avoid multiple-businesses selling the same product. If the business is accepted into the Fair, they are asked to share additional information about their product, process and plan. Businesses returning to the Fair for a second or third year can share information about the ways it has grown. As in a real-life environment, participants pay a small fee to participate; any profits are theirs to keep. They provide signage, a table and chairs if needed at the Fair. We will provide a tent for sun/ rain protection.
The Entrepreneurs are mentored and monitored by adults but are responsible for making and following through on all decisions about the business.They learn by connecting choices to outcomes, reflecting on successes, missteps, and observation of other booths at the Fair. The most important position of the entrepreneurs’ mentors/ parents/ guardians is that of calm, supportive helper. Model a stress-free, joyful approach to the event. Share your personal experiences in business and life as encouragement and possible solutions. Follow through on your own promises and allow your entrepreneur to do the same.
Mentors can support children in learning how to track sales and estimate profits/losses. They can also share the importance of warmly engaging with customers, making eye contact, and offering assistance/ information about the product.
Other roles for the participant’s adults include acting as employee, directed by the entrepreneur (but avoiding doing the work for her/ him). Jobs might include driving to and from the Fair, assisting with tent and table set-up, supervision of the booth during the hour prior to Fair opening so children can visit other booths. Instead of directing a child, try asking a question to allow them to make their own connections. For example, if your entrepreneur is selling flavored popcorn, refrain from telling them what else they might need at the booth. Ask open-ended questions, like “I wonder what would go with the popcorn?” Or, “Is there something you and your friends enjoy/ need along with your popcorn that you might want to include?” If they don’t think of mint-infused lemonade, napkins, condiments – so be it. Allow your child the joy of making discoveries and connections independently.
We encourage parents/ guardians/ mentors to ask children questions to guide the entrepreneur’s reflections after the Children’s Business Fair concludes, such as:
We hope you and your entrepreneur enjoy the experience at the Children’s Business Fair! For more information, visit our fair website at www.childrensbusinessfair.org/jacksonville