In recognising the demand for entrepreneurs in this day and age, non-for-profit foundation Club Kidpreneur has designed a unique, interactive and educational entrepreneurial programme for kids across Australia. The Camp Kidpreneur holiday programme is taking place in nine locations nationwide to foster entrepreneurial thinking in children aged between 8 and 12 years.
Camp Kidpreneur is the abridged version of Club Kidpreneur’s Ready-Set-Go business program which has been delivered to more than 3,000 kids in 220 schools and aftercare facilities nationally.
Over four action-packed days, kids will be mentored by local entrepreneurs and will be responsible for hand-making their products, merchandising their ‘concession’ and using their sales and customer service skills to sell what they have made at local markets.
During the programme, kids receive a “business in a backpack” with raw materials for one of five products provided. By the end of the programme kids launch a micro-business, selling products from fridge frames to key rings.
The kids do not get to choose what product they will be manufacturing. The reason for this, according to Graham Berman, General Manager of Club Kidpreneur, is that it teaches children “you don’t always get what you want. You have to work with what you have”.
Camp Kidpreneur is based on Club Kidpreneur’s Ready-Set-Go business program which
has been delivered to more than 300 kids in 220 schools and aftercare facilities nationally. The kids learn to design logos that effectively communicate the product they will be manufacturing; they start to learn about mass production as opposed to customisation; and they develop the skills to price their products so that the business can be sustainable.
“It’s a fun, interactive programme; it’s not about kids sitting down at their desks and writing notes. It’s a hands-on experience. And at the end of the programme, they go to the local markets and start selling their product. At this point, they get to see first-hand what works and what doesn’t,” says Berman.
One of the most important things the programmes teaches is agility. Berman explains that they’re trying to teach children that it’s okay to fail, that there is such a thing as positive failure.
“It’s all about learning from that experiment and then pivoting. This is very important for kids to learn,” says Berman.
“Often in schools, they provide participation awards to congratulate every child in the room. While this is certainly encouraging, the problem is when they’ve hit their first hurdle – whether in or out of school – they don’t know how to handle it. We’re trying to teach kids to experiment, trust their instincts, make decisions and accept failure.”
Berman believes encouraging entrepreneurial thinking can empower children – especially if they’re not naturally academic, artistic or sporty.
One example he provides is a young boy who participated in the entrepreneurial programme after attempting suicide. He was an outcast at school, had very low self-esteem and dignity. Though he wasn’t academic, artistic or sporty, he had a knack for creating and selling products. Following on from the programme, he launched a number of business including a hot-dog business, and now works side by side his father.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is Poppy Starr Olsen who participated in the entrepreneurial programme a couple of years ago. At the age of 12, she won the title of Australian Bowl Riders Champion, after competing with skateboarders double her age. Now, at 13, she is traveling across the world to compete on the international stage.
But traveling is costly. Using the business skills she gained from participating in the entrepreneurial programme, she started a greeting cards company which funds her flights.
Creel Price, Club Kidpreneur Founder and entrepreneur who turned his $5,000 start-up into a $100 million business, says, “There is something quite special about kids learning the highs and lows of business, how to handle customers, building their financial literacy skills around handling cash and setting prices to make profit.”
“Every time the school holidays near I get more and more excited about our camps and what amazing ideas the kids will come up with!”
Berman says one of the best things about the programme is that it’s almost a cost-neutral exercise, because many kids continue on with their businesses – even after finishing the programme – and use the revenue to pay their mum and dad back.
Others donate their earnings to charities or social causes – taking a positive step forward from being an entrepreneur to becoming a social entrepreneur.
Empowering underprivileged children
Two months ago, Club Kidpreneur ran a course with 11 underprivileged girls from the Warwick Farm community. In the course of four days, these girls collectively raised funds and donated it to the Children’s Hospital. Berman says it was “incredible to see how in such a short period of time these girls gained self-respect, dignity, and trust.”
“Camp Kidpreneur teaches a combination of life skills and business skills – which are often interrelated,” he adds.
This summer Club Kidpreneur will also provide the opportunity for 100 to 200 underprivileged children from across Australia to participate in the Camp Kidpreneur entrepreneurial programme. In a unique campaign, Price will ‘Camp For a Cause’ to raise $37,500 to cover the costs of these kids attending the programme.
The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was launched last Wednesday; and Price has since slept in a camping tent every night – both in Australia and South Africa – and will continue to do so until they’ve reached their fundraising goal. They’re currently sitting at $525 with 24 days left.
Club Kidpreneur is currently in the process of creating a space for children to talk to one another and exchange business ideas.
In the future, they will offer the programme to teenagers, and weave in information technologies. They also plan on extending the lifecycle of the programme – introducing coding and design, and e-tailing, among other subjects.
“Given the growth of entrepreneurship in the technology space, it’s important that we keep with the trend, and teach the kids how to leverage digital technologies,” says Berman.
The holiday business program for 8-12 year-olds will take place across five states during January 2014. The cost is $375 for each child, though they are currently offering two early bird specials: spend $375 and bring a friend for free or pay $225 for one child until the 13th of December.
For more information and to register visit www.campkidpreneur.com. If you are keen to get involved in your local Camp as a volunteer Mentor, please contact the Club Kidpreneur team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The crowdfunding campaign can be accessed via www.indiegogo.com/projects/camp-for-a-cause.