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Young entrepreneurs show off skills

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Four days of business education culminated in a “market day” last Friday for the nine youths enrolled in this year's Youth Enterprise Camp in Fort Frances.

The budding entrepreneurs had tables set up in front of the Fort Frances Museum on Scott Street to display their businesses and hopefully make some money.

“It's great to see how creative the kids get,” said Cierra Parkhill, who taught the program.

“I think it turned out really well.”

The camp is run for kids aged nine-13 in different locations across Northern Ontario by “Headstart in Business,” a project that encourages entrepreneurship in youth.

The Rainy River Future Development Corporation and NCDS helped with the Fort Frances camp, which took place July 4-7.

The campers learned about starting up and running a business, with introductory ideas about everything involved.

“We go over what an entrepreneur is, whether they know any entrepreneurs, what characteristics they have, and whether or not the kids have any of those characteristics,” Parkhill explained.

The campers then were able to visit and learn from some local entrepreneurs like Ben Morelli at From the Grind Up.

“Then we do some idea generation based on their passions and interests,” Parkhill added.

The campers then had to come up with a solid idea for a business so they could begin planning and managing the financial aspect.

Each entrepreneur received a loan of $20-$25 and used that to fund their idea.

“Then they can start thinking about the number of items they will have, the price of each, the revenue, and paying back the loan,” Parkhill noted.

The entrepreneurs then have a chance to actually run the business on “market day” while getting hands-on learning about profit, revenue, and expenses.

“It's really cool watching it come together for them over the week as they learn bits and pieces and get a taste of business,” said Parkhill.

The campers all were very enthusiastic about their businesses, as well as showing off what they had learned about customer interaction and managing finances.

“I learned that math is really important in running a business," said Kaleb Richards, who was operating "Nailed it,” a business selling jewellery made from old nails.

“And you have to be really helpful," added Faith Richards, owner of "Hang it Up.”

A few of the campers admitted their businesses had started as a different idea.

For instance, Nolan MacDonald's “Play with Nerf” game began as a water gun idea before the cost turned him away while Faith Richards' decorative hangers originated as a idea for a potted plant business.

Others went beyond the requirements to improve their business with slogans, like Bryce MacDonald's “Put some beef in that dog treat" for his "Lucky Dog” business.

Jersey Rose also encouraged the sale of her painted rocks by pledging 25 percent of her profits would go to the “Friends of Animals.”

Trinity Richards and Dahlia Kaun, meanwhile, decided to combine their businesses into “It's a Girl Thing” because they thought their sewn bags and homemade makeup items would do well together.

Parkhill said after “market day,” the campers packed up their businesses and calculated their profit, allowing them to see exactly how successful they were and think about what they could do to improve.

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