2017 Children’s Business Fair Celebrates Entrepreneurship

October 7, 2017,  Raleigh North Carolina.  Event Photography.

The Raleigh Children’s Business Fair was a big success and for the second year in a row AIP was on hand to document this event.

About the event, from the Carolina Journal:  

“The fair, sponsored by the John William Pope Foundation, is part of a national franchise led by the Acton Academy and The Acton School of Business. It’s the second held in Raleigh. Last year, more than 60 kids set up shop in the The Commons at Raleigh’s North Hills Mall, the site of this year’s event.

Young entrepreneurs between 6 and 14 came from Charlotte, Wilmington, and everywhere in between. Sixty-eight participants opened 45 businesses, with products from jewelry, to art, to pumpkin-flavored dog biscuits.

Other exhibitors proudly displayed crocheted scarves, paper airplanes, books, and dog toys. The children’s efforts in production and marketing impressed the Pope Foundation’s Blake Brewer, who organized the event.  Read More Here. 

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Participants include students from traditional public schools, public charter schools, and homeschools.

In addition to allowing children to show off ideas and sell goods to customers, the fair hosts a competition — divided into two age categories — in which judges award prizesfor best business potential, best customer service, and best business idea. Winners get $50.

Chick-Fil-A partners with the Pope Foundation, offering a special grand prize for entrepreneurs who win the “shopper’s choice” award.

“The purpose of the fair is to instill in these kids entrepreneurship and the idea of free markets and free enterprise. We want to make sure they value that in their lives — and into the next generation,” Brewer said.

The Pope Foundation is looking for a grantee for the Raleigh fair next year, Brewer said. One other Acton fair is held in the greater Triangle area, but Raleigh’s fair offers a great chance for kids to stretch their business skills.

For many child entrepreneurs, business is more than just about making money.

A few dog biscuit purveyors donate proceeds to animal rescues. A young artist puts a large portion of her profits toward scholarships for Liberian orphans.

“I’m just totally beaming. They’re amazing,” said Kari Breed, the kids’ mother, and a co-founder of Oak City Academy.

The Breed children hatched the idea for Grow Green Essentials after losing a young classmate to cancer. The experience was a difficult one, said Leala. That’s why the business is about “healthy products for healthy kids.”

They donate 10 percent of their proceeds to their school, Oak City Academy. The money goes toward scholarships for low-income students.

“Our product is very important, because regular hand soaps have cancer in them,” Titus said. “therefore, personally, I want something that doesn’t [cause] cancer.”

Event Photography by Evan Greene