Meet Violet, One of Our Boldest Students Yet!

Have you seen Violet's business? If you have been anywhere within a few feet of it, I bet you have. How do I know? Because Violet is incredible at speaking to Every New Potential Customer who walks by her table and won't let you walk away until you hear about her budding business!

While all of our students are excited to build their business and are nearly bouncing off the walls the night before a big Market Day, Violet really focused on her training and understood that it isn't enough to just set up her booth and hope people come running. It isn't about a shy child vs one that is not. It was about her focus on getting the job done and working through what works best and what doesn't. Violet wanted to be successful and continues to practice this skill.

For all of our Build a Biz Kid Graduates, we offer additional opportunities to build their businesses and learn new skills. Violet jumped at the chance to participate in a real adult Market hosted by the Tri Cities Collective in Port Moody.

Her first Market Day was a part of her program with Build a Biz Kids. She set up shop, spoke to customers, made some sales and had a lot of fun. when she came to set up for her second market, Wow! Violet didn't just set up the same business and hope that things went better. She improved her business, she observed other students businesses on the previous market day and then tried some new approaches.

The first thing she did was expand her product line strategically. Violet sold handmade jewelry using up-cycled materials. She offered earrings and bracelets with reasonable price tags. She had a beautiful display with all of the colors everything came in for easy view and clearly marked information with prices.

So what did she add? A simple, low cost matching hair pin. She consciously thought of price when making these because she wanted an easy up sell or low cost item for someone who didn't have enough money to buy a full set. By the end of the day, we asked how it went and, low and hold, her hair pins were the best seller.

We try to make a point to interview each student at their market to understand how they are processing the day. This market was different. They were set up next to adult vendors selling competitive products who do this for a living. That's some steep competition so we asked her how she felt about it. “It’s cool and doesn’t feel competitive because none of them are anything like my products." YES! That's exactly the mindset we hope to instill in each KidPreneur. What you are doing is special and unique; just focus on your customers and your business model. There is enough room for everyone.

We asked Violet what she learned at this market and what she might do differently at the next one. She noted that her earrings weren't selling as well as she liked, but her bracelets were. “For the next market, I might make some adjustments like a better display or lower the price.” The learning process is never complete in Entrepreneurship and Violet is a Real KidPreneur taking this approach.

It can't be underestimated how much resiliency is developed by placing our children in these kinds of real world situations. By giving them the right mindset before embarking on something so BIG in their worlds, Violet saw a lack in sales as an opportunity for HER to improve. Not to complain about how the world is not giving her money or treating her nicely. This attitude will serve her in all aspects of her life as she grows into an incredible teenager and adult.

Violet gave some quick advice to other kids wanting to start their own business. “Know where you are going to sell and your target customer and don’t make too much product or you’ll be selling to your friends forever!” That is fantastic advice Violet! See you at the next Market Day!

To find out how you can register your child for one of our KidPreneur Programs, visit our website.
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16 KidPreneurs Launch Their Businesses!

It was an exciting day at Henderson Place Mall on November 24th! 16 Build a Biz Kids, bright eyed and primed with nine weeks of business launch preparation stormed the mall to set up shop. Armed with their handmade signage, display decor and for some, copious amounts of product; the kids each built their own stands ready for their first customers.

Branding and merchandising lessons prevailed as we watched each of the unique businesses take shape. From disco lights & music to chalkboard menus for gift set options and even a ‘Square’ device to take card payments, these kids came ready to impress.

With a bit of nervous excitement and an encouraging high five, each business ‘opened’ and our KidPreneur Students became Real Business Operators. As the typically quiet mall was quickly transformed to a bustling marketplace, it wasn’t long before my shoulder was being tapped by a lineup of kids full of pure joy because they wanted to tell me they made their first sale.

For four hours, we watched our entrepreneur lessons come to life with professionalism. We were so impressed by how disciplined each student was as they presented their products and turned each onlooker into a paying customer.

They practiced! There wasn't an excuse to not buy that they didn't have a rebuttal for.  "I don't have a dog that needs a leash" was answered with "Do you have friends that have dogs?". "I'm not hungry at the moment" was quickly converted with "but you might be hungry in an hour."

But not every customer was so kind. "I don't like slime" and "No, no, I don't want any" were also met with smiles. In fact, the kids all giggled it off saying, "Wow, they are grumpy!"

These encounters, although at first glance may look negative, will build up thier resilience & communication. This one day will provide years of confidence and empowerment for them to draw upon when life starts to feel tough.

The amount of support from parents, friends and our incredible community has left us speechless. Before the market ended, more than half of the business had completely sold out of product. But even though they sold out, not one child left but rather stayed to support one another, talk to customers and some even took back- orders for more products.

Not only did every KidPreneur have an incredible day of success, many, if not most, overcame some form adversity to do it.

We can't wait to hand out these hard working graduates KidPreneur Certificates and celebrate graduation next week.

We also can't wait to meet our next group of students in our Winter/Spring program starting next January. If you would like to learn more or enroll your child into one of our programs, Visit Our Website Here


Being Aware While Still Having Fun!

This weekend was a fun filled event for Build a Biz Kids. We were honoured to be volunteering at the Port Moody RibFest in the Kids Center where we had an information booth along with 3 games for kids of all ages. If you haven’t been to RibFest before, you missed out on a great event so be sure to put it into your calendar for next year.

But back to the topic of this blog. Every time we do an event we love people/family watching and observing others as it can help you to learn a lot about yourself as well as perhaps seeing through a child’s lens of the world and the people they interact with around them.

I have a few stories I would love to tell over the next few blogs that I hope will help you with your own personal journey of continuing to become a great parent and mentor to your children so they, will in turn, become successful and fulfilled adults.

The first story is an observation our VP noticed of a family of 4. Mom and Dad along with 2 kids between about 6 and 8 years.

We had 2 great games provided by the event, both along the same lines. Throw the ball or hit the puck into the wooden cut outs to test your skill & accuracy.

This family was undoubtedly having a wonderful family day together. They looked like any other family when they walked up, however, he just noticed that through their fun and laughter, they may have created a behaviour habit that we noticed wasn’t encouraging their children to try new things or take risks. Of course, once observing this, I encourage you to look in yourself, as we try to do, on whether we are also unknowingly do this as well.

Here's the innocent interaction that occurred. Each parent went up to the football toss to try their skill at throwing the football through one of the two holes in the quarterback cutout. Mom walks up and takes a try, misses and the ball bounces off the boards. The dad starts laughing very hard and encourages the kids to do the same. “Haha, you missed!”

Dad steps up and tries, misses as well. Mom roars in laughter and gets the kids giggling and pointing at dad and how he failed. “Haha, you suck!”

Everyone was having an innocent enough of a time and laughing lots which is always great but when the parents asked the kids if they wanted to try…. Unsurprisingly, each said no.

This exchange was short and innocent. Something I can see myself doing with my friends at a carnival when one tries to win the big stuffed animal and doesn’t even come close to making it. We all laugh and taunt them and it’s all in good fun with no ones feelings getting hurt. We all understand the spirit of the moment and it's a super fun time.

But in this moment, the parents are having a great time but have perhaps unknowingly created an environment where their kids don’t understand that “spirit” and have developed a fear around failing with witnesses. They have seen what happens to you when you “fail”. You are mocked, laughed at and told you suck by those you hope to have acceptance and encouragement from. Who would want to take risks in that environment?

I write this not to shame this family. Truly, we have all done this as kids, teens and adults when around peers. But like many instances, our kids haven’t developed their confidence yet and need reasons to try new things, not shy away from them.

All in all, it can sometimes be tough to understand context as adults when it comes to how you relax and converse with your best friend and significant other, vs when you are around your kids. Laughter, joking, and lightheartedness is strongly encouraged; just remember, the minds of children don't develop over night. They evolve based on the conditioning their environment presents to them.


These Aren't Real Businesses...

Businesses are Big, Daunting Tasks. Surely these 7 year olds aren’t starting a REAL Business…. Right?

One of the best days I have had so far with Build a Biz Kids was at the Tinypreneurs show this year. Tinypreneurs hosts a tradeshow exclusively of kids where they set up shop and sell their wares. It was so cool seeing these young kids take pride in products they have made and proudly speaking to potential customers about why they made each item and why the customer should buy one.

Kids have a truly authentic enthusiasm that you can’t help but get wrapped up in.

But getting back to why it was a fantastic day……

Aside from Tinypreneurs being a great event overall, coincidentally there was a small craft fair running right next to them of about 25 vendors, all adults. Walking through the kid’s booths and then taking a stride down the “grown up” businesses, they were alarmingly similar.

With exception to perhaps more expensive packaging and a lack of crayon signage, the parallels gave me a bit of a chuckle.

The adult craft fair had a delicious bake goods stand of short break cookies and other baked delights, but we had an adorable sibling team who had bags of cookies for sales as well.

There was an adult vendor selling gift cards and post cards, but we had a kid of only 11 who took incredible photographs of nature and was selling non-stop by making the pictures into gift cards, postcards and bookmarks.

Another Adult vendor had handmade soaps and candles, but, so did we on the kids side.

The list goes on. These adults have their own business and brands of products that they make and sell and repeat every weekend, online and beyond. Many earn a living this way. So, aside from the number of booths the adults run vs the kids and the online savvy of the adults having online stores (although some of our kids had that nailed down as well) these kids are taking the same steps and building a real business, the same as you or I would.

The one difference I did notice, however, was the difference in social contribution. The kids of this generation have a different perspective than perhaps generations previous to them. They want to help, they want to give back, and not just because it sounds good; but because it feels good and it keeps them motivated during the hard times.

We have created blogs on social entrepreneurship and will continue to do so in the future but needless to say, I was so proud to see so many kids taking action. They all took ownership of their businesses and many will continue to grow and adapt them as they learn more and more about their product, their market and their consumer needs.

Keep it up, everyone, of all ages!

To help nurture and grow your KidPreneur, take a look at our summer camp and after school programs registering now.


What Does a Non Profit Know About Entrepreneurship & Making Money

A Non-Profit Society that teaches entrepreneurship? At first, to some that may seem like two opposing ideas. I mean, isn’t entrepreneurship about making money? Making a Profit? And non profits are about doing good, selfless actions trying to raise money and making non for themselves? After all, a non profit is exactly that. No Profit.

Well, things have changed since I was in school trying to learn and decide what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I can still remember conversations with friends and my mom on the topic of what direction we could go in and what fields to study. Anytime someone would say, “I want to work with kids” or “I want to work with animals” or “I want to save the planet,” parents including my mother would roll their eyes (and still do) and say, “you can’t make money doing that.” Helping third world countries or working to do good in the world had this perspective that you had to make a trade off. Either you can do good things for the world and your fellow man, or you can make money.

That societal mantra became ingrained in many of us and back then, it was kind of true. Working for non-profits or charities, even now, pay below many for-profit business roles of a similar title and responsibility.

Before I go on, I want to say that non profits and charities and the people who work with them are incredible and do great things for communities and the world. But that’s not where I’m going with this.

The last generation entering the work force has opened our eyes up to an alternative to both which has carried over into consumerism and I believe it is here to stay.

Social Entrepreneurship is the new wave of building a business. Outside of innovation of products and services, businesses are now being designed around their contribution to what matters to them most.

For example, there are many shoe companies out there, tons! When Tom’s Shoes first launched, they said, we want to help those who don’t have shoes. So if you buy shoes from us, we will donate a pair of shoes to those in need. Now, Tom’s Shoes give prescription glasses and eye surgery, provide water sanitation, medical training and supplies to help expecting mothers, and so much more. They still make money, they make a great product, but they do good and it is not about just writing a cheque and walking away. They are taking action.

10 Tree is the same way. They are a T-shirt, hat and apparel company with beautiful quality products. Why did they start? Because they have a passion for the environment. Buy any item in a store or online and you will get a tag that allows you to choose where you want 10 trees to be planted. Incredible!

Those are just 2 of my favourites but there are many more such as Lush Cosmetics or products like Final Straw and the list goes on.

Whether the businesses match sales or purchases, or they create products that help in a positive way to bettering the world in these traditionally “no money” industries, these are all for-profit businesses who started because they wanted to make a difference in the world in some way.

So how are they making a difference? Just ask them. Because their initiatives matter, they track their impact.

- 10 tree have planted over 21 million trees

- Lush has kept way over 15 million shampoo bottles alone out of landfills

- Toms Shoes has:

o  given over 75 million shoes

o given sight back to over 500,000 people

o created 450,000 weeks of safe drinking water

o provided safe birthing services for over 175,000 mothers

o And to add to that, they help to start up companies like them get launched with a social entrepreneurship fund

Did I mention they all still make money?

So, to my mom and everyone else who perhaps still thinks that doing good means to sacrifice, I hope that this and a little extra research will help to change that point of view, as well as your consumer spending habits.


Kids 4 Kids - KidPreneur Spotlight

Kids 4 kids – is there a more inspiring purpose for a business? It explains why I was instantly drawn to the energy of three siblings and friends at an event recently. These kids, all wearing t-shirts with simple but powerful messages, were full of charisma so I had to get to know them.

Tell me about your shirts, I asked.

“Our cousin passed away from pediatric cancer. We wanted to honour our cousin and raise money to support the hospital that helped our cousin” http://www.sickkidsfoundation.com/

What a powerful purpose to start a business with.

"How did you come up with the t-shirt ideas?"

“Our friend in Toronto wanted to help us commemorate our cousin and sent us some messages to put on t-shirts.”

I took a look at their collection and these messages are powerful with their simplicity. Messages include:

Un-breakable

Shine your light

Be yourself

I only do me

Trail blazer

I belong

I can and I will (my favorite!)

These amazing shirts can be found here: https://www.teehatch.com/stores/KaJape-Wear

The KaJaPe kids 4 kids seemed to be the life of the party at this market day. I had to know what inspired them.

“We like helping lots of people” they said.

If you saw them in action, I think you would agree with that statement.

I wanted to know, "What is the toughest part about running your own business?"

“The hardest part is when a customer says they will come back but they don’t.”

When asked what other kids could do to start a business, the KaJaPe kids 4 kids stayed true to their simple message:

“Find something you love to do or something nobody else is doing.”

I’m inspired to see kids taking action to make a difference. It was an amazing experience to meet these kidpreneurs and we are excited to see their journey.

Be sure to support them at https://www.teehatch.com/stores/KaJape-Wear

Do you know a KidPreneur doing great things who would like to share their story and inspire other kids? Please contact us at info@buildabizkids.com. We would love to meet them!


Just a "Pinch of Magic" - KidPreneur Spotlight

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kimi and Sam, the creative minds behind Just a Pinch of Magic. A fantasy themed craft team encouraged by their love of unicorns, mermaids, rainbows and more! When asked about their inspiration for bringing their crafts to market they said:

“Because we love unicorns and believe that other people must then love unicorns too; maybe they will love them enough to buy what we make.”

These two kidpreneurs seem to embody the old adage: Do what you love and the money will follow. In fact, “watching the money roll in” was Sam’s response to her favorite part of the market day before laughing it off and following up with “actually, I enjoy connecting with new people and talking about our products.”

With poise and charisma, these two creative entrepreneurs connected with every customer that traveled past their craft table. Their enthusiasm for their products and excellent customer service was only surpassed by their passion and dedication to the cause for which they were raising funds. A close family member is a survivor of blood cancer. The girls have decided to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s (LLSC) Light The Night Walk to pay tribute and bring hope to all those affected by blood cancer.

From Kimi’s Light Facebook page: In my own small way, I want to make a difference and I decided to use bonding time with my mom over crafts and sell them to raise money and help out. It beats out asking for donation over and over and I get to learn a lot during the process. Win win. Help me reach my goals by sharing my page, donating or purchasing. Thank you so much.

When asked what it means to be an entrepreneur, Kimi and Sam both responded with clarity:

“Entrepreneurship is problem solving, dedication and tracking.”

They also noted a few struggles can can come with being a KidPreneur.

“having to do math on the weekend is hard”

“giving back the right change”

“keeping track of orders”

These were all situations they encountered during the first part of their day, however in true entrepreneur fashion, these challenges were discussed between the two of them and systems & solutions were implemented immediately to remedy them.

“writing down the orders to keep track”

“we each count the change being given so we are double checking together”

With the support of their parents and their own ambitions, these two have developed a phenomenal skill set of creative problem solving and innovation. I am excited by the potential of young minds that have discovered their ability to go from idea to action. Kimi and Sam are clearly on their way to amazing accomplishments and we are honoured to have met them early in their journey.

When asked if they had any last piece of advice for future entrepreneurs, the girls shared this gem about social entrepreneurship:

“Do it for a good cause so that you are motivated to continue” – Just a Pinch of Magic


"Hey! Want Some Lemonade?"

There’s something invigorating when you get kids to work on a project. Today we set up a Build a Biz Kids lemonade stand for an interview with Tri-Cities News. We invited my son and his step-brother to help us out and we just love watching the ideas fly around the room.

“… what about this…”

“…Oh, we could do this…”

“… How about we try….”

Having these two support our non-profit start-up has reinforced exactly why we are so excited for this program. They are passionate and have unlimited ideas. With tools and encouragement there is a world of possibility ahead of them. These 8 and 9 year olds are asking questions about our business strategies and offer intelligent suggestions.

“… what about contacting the local schools to see if they would like to offer your programs to their students?”

"...have you thought about putting up posters at car dealerships and coffee shops? Moms and dads go there..."

As the table was set up, and potential customers began appearing we saw the transition from lemonade stand concept and design turn into a real micro-business that they could control & be proud of. Pretty soon we had set up an enticing display of lemonade… although our customer service skills were a little rusty to begin with.

“Hey, want some lemonade?”

eventually became

“Hi there, would you like to support a local charity with your purchase of a lemonade? We have regular lemon or raspberry flavours.”

As the day progressed and donations began to grow so did their confidence. There was a sense of pride in their efforts and the fact their efforts were supporting a cause. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to watch a child’s ambitions become actions.

I’m exhilarated by the day of watching these two boys take leadership and cannot wait to see this multiply by up to 15 kids per camp this summer.

Our schedule for July and August 2018 is open for registration in the Tricities & Burnaby here


One Child Can Make a Difference. Just Ask Calliope

Way back when I was a kid, it seemed like fundraising was just a part of the curriculum. At Christmas I was selling Christmas ornaments or wrapping paper for school, in the spring it would be cookies or cakes at bake sales, and that doesn't even touch on the kids who had Girl Guides or Scouts or Soccer teams raising money for uniforms and equipment.

These days, kids still fund raise, but it seems different in many ways. Yes, times have changed and "rules" are different. When I was a child in the 80's & 90's taking my pledge forms door to door on my own wasn't anything out of the ordinary, nor was it really all that incredible either. It was just what we did.

Today, children can't go far on their own. This can be for many reasons such as laws, parenting styles or just plain old safety depending on the neighbourhood they are in. But does this change in society have to effect the level of independence a child can feel when taking on a fundraising initiative?

I couldn't help but be incredibly inspired by this young KidPreneur right here in our backyard. Ruben's Shoes collects shoes & donations as a registered charity for children in the Dominican Republic to offer them the resources for shoes and an education. As you can imagine, when local children hear these stories and the cause, many become moved and want to help.

There is an 11 year old who caught my attention with the inspired passion she had and action she took to raising enough money to donate over 1000 shoes! Just under 500 shoes this year alone. Her name is Calliope and she lives right here in the Tri-Cities.

So how did she do it? It was a lot of effort, I am sure, but one thing I know is that she had the support of a community behind her cheering her on. Calliope is a part of Sole Girls, a fantastic organization that encourages empowerment among young girls through physical activity. She also had the support of her community where she lives. For 3 years now, Calliope has had an annual lemonade stand to enable her to raise funds for Ruben's Shoes.

So, how can you help your child impact others? Give them the space to be inspired and then help them take action. Surround them with other change makers of young and old doing incredible things who can support them, as well as help you with offering the right amount of guidance.

Summer Entrepreneurship Programs are available where they can socialize with kids just as explosive with ideas and facilitators who can teach them the tools and steps to make their passion become a impactful in their community.

But most of all, make sure they know that even as one individual, they can impact the lives of 1000's of children in need, animals with no homes, or keeping our earth healthy.


Empowering Youth For Their Financial Future!

What happens when your boss is 9yrs old? Like a CEO, my son is inspired with ideas for better business and community. And like many CEO’s, once he’s shared his vision he delegates the implementation strategy to his leadership team (AKA Mom & Dad). Like any parent, I went looking for ways to encourage his passion but also his initiative so I wouldn’t become his executive assistant.

Que the old man “back in my day…”

Today’s parents grew up with responsibility of supporting their community organizations (Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Sports teams, School events) by asking for contributions from friends, family and neighbors. We carried our flyers door to door and asked for signatures, empty cans/bottles and practiced our sales pitch for chocolate bars. Fundraising efforts now seem few and far between that when they do come around we whip out cheque books in favour of our kids having to ask and potentially hear “no” from strangers.

Is convenience a hindrance? Our kids are one google search away from learning anything they want. They are connected to a community of information, innovation and support. Every tool they need to bring an idea to life is available to them. With encouragement, coaching and guidance, kids can turn possibility into reality. What is the missing piece for turning ideas into initiative?

Build A Biz Kids is a non-profit delivery partner of Young Entrepreneur Learning Lab after-school and summer camp programs. We believe that today’s youth are one encouragement away from changing the world. We are building our future leaders by empowering community focused action takers. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in today’s youth and our summer camp and after school programs are equipping them with the tools and resources to take action with their solution focused creativity.

Here are a few tips on raising KidPreneurs:

1 – Problems are opportunities – the greatest innovations are actually solutions to common problems. The innovative mind of a child has an advantage when it comes to creative ideas for overcoming obstacles because they have not heard all of the excuses yet on why something doesn’t work. Encourage their exploration by celebrating problems as an opportunity for creative solution based thinking.

2 – Mistakes are important part of the process – nothing is ever immediately great. Greatness occurs after lots of attention and effort. It’ s important to encourage the positivity in “failing” as the moment we learn there might be a better way. A perfectionist will often suffer from analysis paralysis and never take that first step. Encourage a messy process of learning and re-developing ideas.

3 – Communication is key – I love the phrase that you don’t fully comprehend a concept until you can explain it to a five-year-old. Imagine the power of a five-year-old who can explain a concept or idea to adults. The key to delivering a message to be clear and concise – when you encourage a child to simplify their communication, you are increasing their ability to be understood and supported.

Entrepreneurial skills challenge children to think outside the box, create unique solutions, and become leaders at an early age. The entrepreneurial mindset teaches kids to take initiative, solve problems, think critically, make decisions, interact with people confidently and look for opportunities around them. These skills help to increase self-confidence and provide more opportunities for bright financial futures for themselves and their communities.

To inspire the entrepreneur in your child, visit Buildabizkids  or register for a program here