Parents know it’s almost impossible to draw most kids away from Minecraft and YouTube videos during the seemingly unending summer, let alone get them to accomplish any reading or summer homework. And they certainly wouldn’t participate in a youth business fair.
For these reasons, regular patrons at the Crossroads Farmers Market in Bellevue may have been surprised to find 40 additional booths at this week’s Tuesday market, all staffed by children aged 5 – 18.
Creative Children for Charity (also known as 3C) — a local organization that (among other pursuits) encourages Eastside children to create art or other innovative products of value and donate sale profits back to the community — partnered with the national organization ACTON Children’s Business Fair to host the inaugural Seattle-based event.
To participate, the mini entrepreneurs were tasked with creating a product or service, developing a brand, and creating profit, all to experience what goes in to entrepreneurship. Moreover, the work is placed squarely on each child’s (or team’s) shoulders, as each business is responsible for its own setup, sales, and interactions with customers without any help from mom and dad; kids who get help from an adult are disqualified from taking home one of the fair’s three prizes.
“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s business innovators and leaders,” said Acton School of Business founder Jeff Sandefer. “The Children’s Business Fair gives students the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings and get a head start on promising business careers.”
Wares displayed under hand-drawn signs included unicorn slime, jewelry, air plant holders, cat toys, sushi made from candy, fidget spinners, medical alert bracelets, photography prints, paintings, pottery, and even no-tie shoelaces called Stringy Stop. All products were thoroughly thought out and approved before the fair, according to 16-year-old fair organizer and 3C founder Chirag Vedullapalli.
“In the application, we asked them things like, ‘What’s the pricing, how are you going to market it, and how are you going to pay your startup costs?’” said Vedullapalli. “Then we had an orientation, which was about two hours or so, and that was where we really trained them on how to work with customers, how to present their products, and just the logistics for the day.”
In keeping with 3C’s name, more than 70 percent of the children who owned businesses and participated in the fair said they intended to donate some or all of their profits to charitable organizations such as Seattle Humane, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish, and the American Red Cross to offer aid to individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey.
For more information about 3C, visit them online.