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Truro Juniorpreneur camp to build young business owners

Last year's Truro Summer Juniorpreneur camp participants enjoy an educational field trip, organized by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development.
Last year's Truro Summer Juniorpreneur camp participants enjoy an educational field trip, organized by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development. - FILE

TRURO, N.S.

If you’re a child or teen looking to set up your own business, the Juniorpreneur camp may be a great place to learn how.

The camp is coming to Truro for the second year in a row from Aug. 13 to 17 and will teach local youth skills such as leadership, team-building, conflict resolution, critical thinking, proper risk-taking and innovation.

In doing so, youth will design and run their own businesses, making real money. As they progress, they will learn how to create customer surveys and balance expenses and revenues, among other skills.   

“Kids have so much fun – as do the counsellors – that it does not feel like work,” said Juniorpreneur spokesperson Robin Grant.

On the camp’s final day, the juniorpreneurs will make pitches to local community judges as their families and friends watch. Only one business will win the competition, but other participants will be rewarded for their accomplishments.

“They have fun because they feel empowered,” said Grant.

However, she added that it was vital today’s youth learn skills such as critical thinking in an age of rapid technological advancement.

Automation and advances in computer technology are making an increasing number of ‘traditional’ jobs and skills redundant and it is hard to predict what the job market will look like in five years.

At the same time, children at school are not always well equipped to deal with such rapid changes, making programs like the Juniorpreneur camp an important leg-up for youth who will soon be competing for jobs in an ever-changing market.

“The problem right now is that technology is increasing so fast that kids are digital natives, leapfrogging their teachers,” said Grant.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, youth across the globe are increasingly choosing self-employment or entrepreneurial options over jobs with established organizations.

But youth unemployment in Nova Scotia is a persistent problem, with many leaving the province to find work. The unemployment rate for youth aged 20-29 in Nova Scotia is currently among the highest in Canada, at 12 per cent.

Many also face job security and under-employment issues, having to work part-time or in positions that do not use their full skills or education.

Over the last 20 years, Nova Scotia’s youth outmigration rate has skyrocketed: an average of 1,300 more youth leave Nova Scotia than arrive every year.

But retaining just 1,300 young people in the province over the course of their lifetimes could provide $1.2 billion in after-tax income and $46.4 million in tax revenue to the province, after expenditures.

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