Who says Dragon’s Den is just for adults?
The Bulkley Valley Christian School (BVCS) held their first ever micro-business event for Grade 6 and Grade 7 students last Friday.
From 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., entrepreneurial teams set up their businesses for a makeshift market where parents and students could browse, talk with the business owners and check out their products.
If they were drawn in by a student’s pitch or thought their merchandise was solid (or, in the case of one young entrepreneur’s homemade rice krispy squares, appetizing) they could make the purchase.
But this wasn’t your regular marketplace.
As the Grade 6 and Grade 7 teacher Klaas Kort explained, all the money from the businesses went to various charities selected by the students.
“This whole thing just started as [a question]: How could I make alive for the kids the fact that there’s so much misery globally, especially among children,” said Kort.
Prior to setting up their businesses, students had to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, Dragon’s Den style, answering hardball questions about their product, business model and marketing plans — all part of the plan to strengthen their business.
Those tough questions seem to have paid off.
By the end of the day, the student-run businesses had raised over $1600 for various charities picked by the students.
One of those businesses was Simply Wood, run by Keji Jada and Cedar Page, selling various woodworked items like house signs and candle holders.
Proceeds from the team’s business went to fund BVCS’ sister school in Sierra Leone.
“It’s one of those things where … you wouldn’t have thought of it on your own time but then after having the experience with school you might want to [pursue it further],” said Page.
Things went great for the duo — so great, in fact, that they completely sold out of candle holders shortly after the fair began.
“Don’t underestimate how much you need,” said Jada with a laugh.
Ben Glanz and Matthew Penner also set up a business, selling toy cars, with sales going towards Kids for Kids, a charity that helps children living in the Darfur region of Sudan by investing in long-term self sustainable projects within the area.
“It’s just fun seeing how, if it’s a good cause, people will donate a lot,” said Penner.
The team says that toy cars were actually their second choice for a business.
“First we were wanting to do squirrel skins — so like squirrel skin hats and shoes and stuff,” said Glanz.
“[But] then the squirrels never ran into our traps so we decided [on cars].”
Kort said the program was a chance to teach a number of skills to children, some practical (simple, on-the-fly math, business and marketing) and others philanthropic (supporting charities).
“One of the things that we try to teach the kids [is] what it means to bring the healing power of Christ to the world.”
Kort said he was thrilled with the community response to the event and how many people came out, adding that it’s something he would like to see continue in the future to help teach children about the importance of charitable work and giving back to those less fortunate.