Biz Kids Creates 13 New Businesses in the Lakeland
You’ve probably noticed an influx of kids with small businesses throughout Bonnyville and Cold Lake, as well as flooding your Facebook walls. That’s thanks to a popular summer program, Biz Kids, which teaches kids what it’s like to be entrepreneurs and how to start & run a successful small business. “We only have a few more weeks of the program,” before the kids go back to school, explains Rural Alberta Business Centre (RABC) Adviser, Kathyn Hotte. To celebrate all the kids successes, the RABC and Community Futures Lakeland are hosting a BBQ for the community as a chance to meet the kids and learn more about the businesses.
You’ll get to meet all the kids and see their businesses, which will be on display, on August 24th at the Cold Lake Staples. “They’ll display their products, one last time, in a sense,” Hotte says the kids can continue on with their ventures after the summer, but the program will wrap up following the day. The kids will host a BBQ from 11:00-2:00 at Staples with all money raised going back into the program.
An example of the type of talent that’s come out of Biz Kids is Karter’s Sweet Kreations, explains Hotte, “he makes all his own cookies. He has something called a brookie – it’s a brownie and a cookie.” Hotte confirmed with Karter’s mom that the kid is making is own creations. “It’s so innovative and so cool.” The kids are all encouraged to showcase their products throughout the summer at Farmer’s Markets, canvasing the neighbourhoods, impromptu meet-and-greets, and social media.
A group of 27 kids, who made 2q businesses, spent their summers becoming entrepreneurs, in the Biz Kids program. The group, made up of 11 kids from Bonnyville and 16 from Cold Lake, went through three main sessions, with RABC mentors. The sessions included brainstorming business ideas and testing their validity, financing, marketing, and how to run a business.
Biz Kids was developed by the General Manager of Community Futures, in Bonnyville, Phyllis Maki. Maki had heard of a similar program in Nova Scotia, before moving to Bonnyville, “I Want to be a Millionaire.” The program taught kids how to start and run their own businesses; which evolved into Biz Kids in the early 2000s. In 2015, Community Futures Lakeland partnered with RABC.
The program expanded and wasoffered for the first time in Lloydminster and Vermilion this year. Lloydminster & Region Community Futures partnered with the Regional Business Accelerator to bring the awesome program to the Midwest region.
The kids were also taught about business trends, such as being environmentally friendly. Hotte explains, “when you think about businesses, in general, one of the trends that I tell businesses is health mania. Keeping things healthy and natural. A lot of these kids, that’s how they are [doing business]. Keeping things fresh & natural. If it’s jewelry they’re making it from hand, that sort of idea; going back to basics.” Along with learning from the experts, kids also received seed money to start their small businesses.
Following the business showcase and BBQ at Staples, the young entrepreneurs will be celebrating their success with an evening dinner. The private event will be for the kids to take in all of what they’ve accomplished during the summer. Donations are welcome to help make the evening memorable; cash, food, or gift certificates are needed. If you’d like to help honour these kids’ successes, contact Kathryn Hotte at the RABC 780-594-1090 or Patti Allan 780-826-3858 ext. 0.