SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Zander Birt climbs on his bicycle and weaves down the quiet streets and boardwalk of Summerside, seeking out customers with the jingle of his bell. He knows nothing’s better on a hot and sticky summer day than an ice-cold, refreshing popsicle.
“I’ve had a lot of interest from people and it makes me feel good because generally I’m not a self-confident person,” admits the 11-year-old. “But in the past two days I’ve had 10 sales, and I can see my confidence growing.”
The young entrepreneur continued, “I was pedalling and a man flagged me from his deck to ask what I was selling after hearing the bell ring on my cart. After I explained, he bought a popsicle. This happened twice in the neighbourhood.”
The venture, called Zizzard’s Treats, mobile frozen treat shop, stems from the Young Millionaires Program that aims to help participants aged 8 to 16 develop basic business and life skills, while introducing them to the world of entrepreneurship.
The program has been running since 1991, funded through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program and Innovation P.E.I.
“It’s a program that everyone should look into,” chimed Amanda Birt, who has supported her son every step of the way. “The whole family got together to build the cart and decorate it, and we are there if he needs a lending hand.”
Popsicles are kept frozen in a battery-powered cooler and sell for $1 or $2, depending on the variety.
She continued, “I remember many years ago hearing the bell and getting frozen ice-cream, so Zander and I came up with the idea to bring back the cool treat. Plus, Zander enjoys riding his bike, so we put two and two together.”
Birt concluded that he is “really enjoying” the experience.
“It’s given me lots of exercise and you can make a lot of money from it,” he adds.