Children’s Business Fair WHAT IS ACTON CHILDREN’S BUSINESS FAIR? The Acton Children’s Business Fair is the largest entrepreneurship event for kids in North America. The one-day Business Fair is a culmination of ideas and hard work from great young minds. Kids develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at our one-day marketplace. Experience young minds marketing, selling, counting money and feeling accomplished! READY TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS? Apply for the Acton Children’s Business Fair in Jacksonville THE PROCESS Young entrepreneurs first make an important decision: they hire themselves! Then they bring their parents or guardians to attend an Orientation Event to learn more. At the Orientation Event, they learn about the simple application process. They apply, and then begin to launch a product or service. The children plan their business at every level: product, service, marketing, accounting, cost of goods, pricing, etc. And in this process, they learn a sense of wonder, the importance of hard work, taking responsibility, and gaining confidence in the next challenge. GENERAL INFORMATION (click on AAJ Business Fair Flyer for date and time information) We will take great care to limit the number of businesses in specific categories so we will not have too many similar business concepts. All entries will be automatically entered in the business competition, and booths will be judged by fellow entrepreneurs on a variety of criteria, including: Most Original Business Idea, Highest Business Potential, and Best Presentation/Creativity. Applicants must be between the ages of 6 – 17 on or before the APPLICATION OPEN date. Cash prizes of $50 per category and age group (to be split among the business owners) will be presented at the conclusion of The Fair. No businesses requiring electricity or generators will be allowed. Each booth consists of a 6-foot table, full-cover tenting, and 2 chairs. Table covers are not provided. No more than 5 participants per booth/business idea. Parents of younger children may sit in their booth, but the children are to be responsible for the setup, sales and interacting with the customers. This event is designed to give children a taste of selling a product. Please let them have that experience. Any parent seen selling to the customer or promoting the child’s product will result in disqualification from the competition. FIVE “SMOOTH STONES” – PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND Wonder There are so many opportunities. Allow your child the gift of wonder. Ask open-ended questions. Industriousness Allow your child the gift of seeing the fruit of hard work. Responsibility Treat your child as the sole owner. Let the child make the plans and the decisions as much as possible. Encouragement Provide encouraging communication. Enthusiasm Provide passion for the Children’s Business Fair. FIVE WARNINGS Parents tend to make children’s events too stressful. What is needed from parents are clear boundaries and backstage organization. Then, let the children flourish. This is not about you, it is about your child. Parents can make children’s events too complicated. This is not Shark Tank or a business plan competition. You do not need business plans with five-year projections. Parents tend to get ahead of their children in passion. There is great value in your child not getting everything done in time. This will help them learn. Make sure they create a product or service they are excited about. Remember the parental adage that “there is blessing in a skinned knee.” Parents tend to get ahead of children in competitiveness. Your role is not to be Donald Trump, a business school professor, or a venture capitalist. Parents tend to rob children of the joy of hard work. Do not do the work for the children. If the product or service looks messy, that is ok; in fact, that is great! Encourage your children to make a good product or service, but never take the role of a business board, manager or owner. Do not rob the work environment of joy by prodding or criticizing. You child is Chairman, CEO, and owner. Let your child be those things. RESOURCES Unsure where to start? Our advice is to keep it simple. First, think about what you can make with your own hands that others might enjoy. Next, picture how you might sell it. Finally, imagine the feeling (and responsibility) of having a little extra spending money as a result. Learn more about the 3 Magic Seeds for starting a business. For more inspiration, check out photos from the Austin Acton Children’s Business Fair and the following resources: STORIES OF YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS Looking for business ideas or just curious about other young entrepreneurs? Read these inspiring stories. From Lemonade Stand to Lemonade Company Mikaila Mikaila Ulmer is CEO of BeeSweet Lemonade, a company she launched at the Acton Children’s Business Fair in Austin, Texas, when she was 4. Ulmer, now 10, bottles and sells BeeSweet Lemonade at Whole Foods and other stores in Austin and donates a portion of profits to the protection of honeybees. Ulmer appeared on Shark Tank in March 2015. This 15-Year Old Innovator Reinvented Water Carter Carter Kostler wanted his mom to be able to drink her fruit-infused water on the go. So at age 13, he designed a bottle that would allow her to do just that. Now 15, Carter sells his Define Bottles online and in small stores. Of being an entrepreneur, he says, “It is important to know from the beginning that there are a lot of highs and lows and there is no such thing as overnight success. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be strong to keep moving forward. Meet the 11-Year-Old Who’s Turning Surfboards into Jewelry Kiai Kia‘i Tallett of Hawaii sells her handmade creations – knitted hats and cuffs, felt flowers, and resin rings – on Etsy and has this advice for budding business owners, “Find something you like to do or make, and make sure you really like it, not just the idea of it.” BUSINESS IDEAS FOR KIDS From making cat toys to designing websites, check out these 101+ Business Ideas for Kids. Guide to Writing a Business Plan From bizKID$, this worksheet helps young entrepreneurs think about marketing (from the name of their business to who they will sell to) and financials (including materials, pricing, and profit).