These kids mean business.
They are “Kidpreneurs” with self-owned startups selling homemade or resold products at marketplaces hosted by Tampa Children’s Business Fair (TCBF).
The TCBF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded with the sole purpose of empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. They organize marketplaces featuring businesses created and launched by local children.
The Kidpreneurs set up shop at a local rec center or shopping district and try to turn a profit by finding out, firsthand, what it’s like to not only sell their wares, but themselves.
“They’re learning how to be a business owner in a fun, safe and supportive environment,” TCBF founder Danielle Cannon said, “even if they take a chance, a chance you might not be able to take as an adult when your life savings are involved.
“And they’re so articulate and poised and mature and, honestly, much more brave than I was at that age,” she added. “I would have never had the confidence, in a million years, to do what these kids are doing and I don’t want my kids, or any of the Kidpreneurs, to be self-conscious like that.
“I want them to be confident in promoting themselves and their business and know it’s all right to fail at it. That’s an opportunity to learn, not a reason to stop.”
TCBF and its Kidpreneurs marketplaces are not even a year old and just held its third marketplace. This one was on Nov. 29 at the KRATE in Wesley Chapel, hosting more than 30 kid-owned businesses with booths in the outdoor shopping plaza.
Before that event even kicked off, it was so popular that Cannon had to schedule a second one at the KRATE for January.
Also, the next marketplace is Dec. 11 in Temple Terrace and features 100 Kidpreneurs, with several others wanting to join in, as well.
“I had to cut it off,” Cannon, a Land O’ Lakes native, said. “Kids want to do it that much.”
Cannon had the idea to start TCBF because the neighbor’s kids wanted to sell bracelets, but didn’t really know how. She thought of having a neighborhood kids’ market, as her two children wanted to sell stuff, too. The neighborhood kept having the market and it kept growing each time.
She formed the nonprofit to help the growing number of kids sell in a market setting, with the first TCBF back in December 2021.
TCBF doesn’t charge for Kidpreneurs to set up with nothing more than a table, a money box or card reader or Venmo account, and the organization relies on donations that go directly to supporting the kids.
At the KRATE market, an anonymous local donor matched donations up to $30,000.
While most Kidpreneurs are out to make money, some do it for philanthropic reasons. For example, Caylynn and Cece Hovan, twin freshmen from Steinbrenner High, donated their proceeds to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.
“I just think it’s great to get some exposure and socialize and learn what it takes to run a business,” Lutz mom Samantha Haylock said, while watching her daughter, Sage, sell her artwork at the KRATE. “I really hope she gets into another marketplace in the future.”
Added Sage: “And I sold two of my paintings so far!
“I think it’s been really fun to meet customers and then see them buy your stuff. It’s awesome and feels really great to make a sale,” she added.
Fellow local Kidpreneur Stephanie Betancourt agrees.
“I did have a lot of fun coming out here and running a business,” she said. “I learned how to run a business and it takes a lot of work. You definitely have to be friendly and smile a lot.”
Her mother, Amarilys Rodriguez, added: “It was a good experience for her to know how to explain the items and give a good sales pitch and be friendly with customers. I think this is great for the kids and their businesses.”
That’s exactly what Cannon is aiming for: She wants the event to be more about collaboration and less about competition between the Kidpreneurs.
That way they can all get down to business.
“We want them to be supportive of one another and the businesses they bring,” she said. “And they are. You see that when they take the time to walk to the other tables and ask them about their business or products.
“And it’s so impressive to see how these kids grow their business. They come back with more products or say, ‘Next time, we’re going to launch our new design!’ — that’s so cute; I just absolutely love it!”
Tampa Children’s Business Fair
Details: The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aims to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs with organized marketplaces featuring businesses that were created and launched by local children. The “Kidpreneurs,” ages 6 to 16, develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, plan the cost of goods and pricing, and then open for customers at marketplace events in Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The latest marketplace, held Nov. 29 at the KRATE in Wesley Chapel, featured more than 30 kid-owned businesses. Demand to feature a kid’s business was so high that the organization plans to host another marketplace event at the KRATE, in January. All donations to this organization are used to support the “Kidpreneurs” and host the marketplace events.
Info: Visit TampaCBF.org.
Next Kidpreneurs Marketplace
When: Dec. 11, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Temple Terrace Family Recreation Complex, 6610 Whiteway Drive
Published December 07, 2022