Students at the École Acadienne de Truro are going into business selling wares from jewellery to s’mores at the Farmers Market this Saturday as they get to grips with money management.
Running for its second summer, the 14 children were lent $30 each and told to buy supplies at local businesses to create a product they could sell, with the expectation they would pay back their starting funds and perhaps make a little profit.
“It’s amazing – I’ve been working with youth for the last 15 years and working with kids who are motivated makes all the difference. It makes my job easier and very, very rewarding, these kids show up with ideas in mind and they’re raring to go,” said project co-ordinator Kevin Poirier.
Student Ellen Fulmer sold colourful home-made monster magnets and as of Saturday morning had made $6 from sales and aimed to make $35 with a $5 profit margin.
“You can make super-creative and make whatever you like with your imagination,” said Fulmore.
The children have produced a variety of products for sale. One student is selling woodwork including Tic Tack Toe and camping boards to people who want to enjoy the summer weather. Another child made sea shells.
While the students must repay their $30 starting loan, they can keep any profits they may make.
Poirier said that most youths understood the importance of managing money, but many did not know how, including older teens who find it difficult.
However, the École Acadienne students are all aged between nine and 12 and Poirier said that teaching them simple money management skills at an early age was key.
“They’ve already got themselves that base, they don’t have to catch themselves up on the basics,” said Poirier.
École Acadienne’s entrepreneur class is being run as a partnership between the Francophone Community Centre of Truro and the province-wide Schools Plus Program, where Poirier works as a community outreach co-ordinator.
As part of the week-long course, students touched on the sorts of products and services entrepreneurs and new businesses offer, but focused mostly on small items that can be easily made and sold locally.
However, the entrepreneur program at Ecole Acadienne is completely separate from those offered by the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development, which runs both summer camps and school workshops over several weeks.
While the École Acadienne workshop lasted for only a week and focused more on everyday money management, the CEED aims to build long-term young entrepreneurs who can start their own businesses and give the local economy a boost.
The CEED will be hosting its own summer ‘Juniorpreneur’ camp at the Colchester/East Hants Library in Truro from Aug. 13 to 17.