A Letter To Our Students & Kids Everywhere For 2019

A letter to Children in communities everywhere.

Congratulations to our students and children everywhere for everything you have learned and experienced in 2018! Just think of where you started last year and all that you have learned.

Maybe you were introduced to multiplication and division last year. Maybe you got to jump off the diving board for the first time or drive a go cart! Did you score your first goal in soccer or catch a fish? Maybe you read your first book with no pictures and can spell words that are 10 letters long now! I bet you were even introduced to some pretty BIG concepts like what nutrition is, why water is important and shouldn't be wasted and that situations are not always good or bad, black or white but that sometimes there is grey area that should be considered.

Over the next few years, you will continue to grow your mind, expand your thinking, and experience activities and learn new skills that seemed so daunting once before. But once you take that leap and do it for the first time, suddenly you will realize that you can overcome anything just by trying, practicing and taking a chance on yourself.

All of us at Build a Biz Kids are so proud and excited for what's to come for you. 2019 will be great, but it is still just the beginning of what we know you will take on and conquer.

So much of growing up is just understanding how BIG and VAST the world is around you. How kids your age live and learn differently in other countries compared to how you live and learn here. That the number of sports, dance, science, music, professions, ideas and FUN you have been exposed to is just .0001% of all of the incredible things you have yet to see and be amazed by.

You have so much to look forward to and the best part, it never ends! You will always get to look forward to learning something new every single day and find something new that get's you so excited you can't even sit in your seat! Every single day you have the chance to find something that will expand your mind and make the world around you a little better, a little kinder, and little more beautiful.

Are you excited for today? Are you excited to learn something new that will make you and someone you love smile?

Well, here's the thing. Sometimes, if we don't practice finding something new each day, if we don't exercise our brains to find something every day that makes us smile, it forgets how to do it. Doesn't that sound sad? Wouldn't that be terrible if we couldn't learn anything new?

At Build a Biz Kids, we want you to never stop learning. We want you to find something new every day that makes you smile and then have so much fun learning how to do it yourself through practice. It takes practice every day to get better but if you do it enough, just like math or reading or playing sports or playing a video game, it get's easier and even more fun!

To our wonderful students and children everywhere who are about to take on 2019 and learn and grow and hopefully have even more fun then last year, we wish you a Happy New! Take on the world, it is your playground, but only if you never stop learning.

Sincerely, your biggest fans,

The Team at Build a Biz Kids


Is What You "Know" Losing You Money?

Today was one of the more interesting days for seeing development in our students during our Build a Biz Kids Lemonade Stand Challenge Summer Camp. Day 3 is all about creating prototypes of their product and then test marketing them with real people; A critical step in any business but more often than not, it's skipped.

No really, it is. Look at your business. When was the last time you gave a sample of your business service or product while in development to a customer and asked for their opinion on it from top to bottom, start to finish & encourage raw truth? And I don't mean an online survey with a score of 1-5 for satisfaction.

Let's take a Mortgage Broker or Real Estate Agent as an example. Many don't even consider their service to be testable or in development. It is what it is and I just do what everyone does. Advertise, have a coffee with clients, do my thing and then send flowers or a gift at the end. But services should be tested formally just as much as products.

The most dangerous entrepreneurs are those who made a tangible product based on their own personal need and fail to ask HONEST feedback on it from strangers. Tangible products cost a lot of money, especially when buying in high quantities so please, please, don't just ask friends and family. Stand on a street corner or go to your potential market and ask them to rip it to shreds. In fact, only ask them for negative feedback and see what you get. Best to know now then once you have spent $100k on a warehouse of widgets only 20 people might be willing to buy.

This is where What You "Know" Might Be Costing You Money. Because what you know is not always what everyone else is willing to pay for.

Day 3 of our Build a Biz Kids Summer Camp is a special day and a BIG eye opener for our students. As many parents know, kids taste pallets are not as developed and, therefore, sometimes their concoctions are not what they thought they would be.

For example, the Red team wanted to create a cherry lemonade & a lemonade and Sprite with pretty straws & pink tissue bows. The Blue team created an orange lemonade and mango lemonade with dainty lemon wedges on the cups.

One mixed, the Red team didn't like the tart cherry juice at all. (I think they envisioned grenadine and not real cherry juice). While the Lemonade & Sprite was better, only half of the team was ok with the tart lemon flavour and fizzy bubbles of the Sprite.

The Blue team battled it out but ended up scraping their orange lemonade due to the "yucky" factor and, again, were split over how successful their mango lemon twist would be.

After pouring and garnishing their samples, they went out into the world and found brave adults to try their mixtures. With notebooks in hand, they explained their recipes and asked direct questions about their product.

"On a scale of 1-5, how do you like the taste? How pretty is it? What don't you like about it? Do you have any additional comments so we can make it better?"

What surprised them was that adults like the taste of the tart lemonade and the feeling of fizzy Sprite on their tongue. They also liked the mango twist and thought it was tropical tasting. The kids who were very certain that no one would like it were a little confused but in a good way. They were relieved they had a recipe that might work!

"It needs to be colder though", "I wouldn't drink this in the morning because it's too sweet but in the afternoon it would be perfect!", "I feel like I should be in the sun drinking this! It's so tropical!"

The kids were sometimes confused by the feedback as some liked sweet drinks and others didn't. Some loved mango and others weren't as big of fans. They learned the value of note taking and, at the end, reviewed their results. The kids who were shy to talk to strangers ended up forgetting their were chatting with random adults because they were super interested in hearing the feedback and write it down.

Aside from becoming better bartenders, these kids explored some important lessons from the day.

- Don't assume your taste buds are the same as others.

- You can't please everyone, so go with the majority

- Don't assume you will get it perfect the first time but keep working on it

- Always welcome negative feedback. It does't mean you did anything wrong or should give up. It means you know more now so you can make it better next time. Negative feedback is just as important as positive feedback

We are often asked, what is the difference between your programs? Well, in the end, nothing, and everything. A child could take our program over and over and over again, especially our after school programs, and never have the same experience. We teach kids how to start a business and to skip any of these critical steps would be setting them up to fail.

While we dive deeper into concepts in some courses more than others, yes, your child will learn how to developed a product or service through exploring passions & solving problem. They will learn how to make a prototype and test it as much as possible. They will develop a marketing plan and test out their communication with a 30 second elevator pitch before going to market.

But guess what, we would make you do all of that too :-)


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.


Don't Be a Dreamer

“You see that widget over there? I came up with that idea 10 years ago and should be rich..."

“I have this great idea. I’m totally going to make it this year. It’s going to be HUGE….”

“I’m writing a book. When did I start writing it? Oh, about 12 years ago. I just need the time to get it done and it will be a best seller….”

Do any of these sound familiar? Maybe you know someone who sounds like this, maybe that person is you. These are the statements of ideas that have expired and concepts lacking action. They are statements from dreamers.

Now don’t get me wrong, dreaming is great! Have lots of dreams, be creative and get inspired. But without action, you are missing out on more than just potentially a lot of money. You are missing out on internal fulfillment, exponential learning, greater perspective, and personal growth.

Our KidPreneur programs at Build a Biz Kids are focused on entrepreneurship, yes, but more importantly, they are about capturing ideas and immediately taking action in a supportive and encouraging environment. If we can teach kids to take action on their uninhibited ideas at an early age, just think of how much experience, growth, perspective, not to mention good old fashion self awareness they will have by the time they graduate high school!

Our greatest hope for our students is that they learn to identify areas of concern in their communities, seek possible solutions, and then rally those around them to take action. It can be a business venture, or it could be to help the elderly man down the street with his lawn mowing, or raising money for their local animal shelter, writing letters to their mayor about improving their schools and the list goes on.

We no longer want to raise dreamers, but rather, change makers. Kids who are taking action because they have the confidence, knowledge, and experience to do so.

For more information on our Kid Entrepreneurship programming for the summer, or coming up in September with after school programs, please visit https://buildabizkids.com/program-descriptions. Our programs were designed by entrepreneurs & parents for kids ages 7-12 years. We believe these are crucial years where their ideas are still unleashed and their confidence is prime for development.


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.


Youth Charity Movement

The kids at elite academy have discovered the drive that comes when helping others.

As a team that met though academic advancement program, they began discussing ways they could make a difference in their community.

After much research they decided that the Eagle Ridge Hospital foundation would be well suited to receive their donations. These students sourced the most in demand products among their peers… Junk Food!

By setting up a snack shack at high school, these students are able to turn a profit on chips. This profit is turned around and donated to Eagle Ridge Hospital.

After hearing about their fundraising efforts, Eagle Ridge Hospital approached the elite academy students to suggest a specialized initiative. The hospital was gearing up for a campaign to raise funds for hearing aid recipients.

So far this year, the Youth Charity Movement has raised $750 which is half way to their goal of $1,500. Previous years they have raised additional funds for the same cause and show no signs of stopping.

Way to go! We are inspired to see youth helping youth!


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