You need good employees to run a business, but it's equally important to generate more businesses, especially in a small-town community.
Young entrepreneurs demonstrated the drive and creativity to run their own businesses Saturday, as part of the first-ever Children's Business Fair, held at Young’s Shopping Center in Marshfield. Twenty-seven different businesses were represented at the event, sponsored by GRO Marshfield.
"Think of it as a craft fair, but where the kids run the businesses," said Crystal Hilton, one of the organizers of the event. "They get to learn what it’s like to write a business plan, prepare for sales, do customer service and evaluate the success of their efforts."
The purpose of the fair is to teach children entrepreneurial skills through hands-on effort and evaluation. Through the fair, they developed a brand, created a product or service, built a marketing strategy, and opened for customers at a one-day marketplace. For his business, Damian Vestal, with C+V Wood Working, created birdhouses and bird feeders.
"The bird feeder took me about an hour and half each, but I've been making bird houses since I was little, so I thought this would be a good business for me,” said Vestal.
Each business had "licenses" written by the City of Marshfield, and these allowed them to operate their businesses for that day. Other businesses offered unique items, such as handmade soaps, lemonade, dog treats and slime — yes, even slime.
"I created slime of different flavors," said Ella Walsh, who worked with Nora Walsh in her slime business, "Ellabelle Slime." "Tutti Frutti, Very Berry Smoothie, those kind of flavors. We used glue and water mixture to make some of them."
Another business featured digital printing and art, which was created by Damon Rust.
"I do custom 3-D printing," said Rust. “I designed Blue Jay logo keychains as one of my products. It takes about two hours to make 12 keychains, but I model it in the machine so it controls how the design will look.”
Mayor Robert Williams described the business fair as an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship and working with young people to create those jobs.
"Promoting entrepreneurship is incredibly important, and so is working with young people, so we can start early on creating job creators," said Williams.
"It’s important to have good employees, but here we're working on both — creating employees and jobs with our young people. What could be better than that?”