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North Point School students were happy to welcome the community to the private school’s first student business fair in three years on Sunday.
The Young Entrepreneurs Business Fair is an annual event hosted by Kindergarten to Grade 12 students from the North Point School for Boys, but it was cancelled the last couple of years due to the pandemic. The students generate thousands of dollars in profits by creating and operating their own businesses.
More than 100 students — some as young as five or six years old — designed business plans to sell crafts, toys, natural soaps, plants, clothing attire, art and other goods at one of 120 booths set up at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport. Family, friends, neighbours and others from the community attended the fair, which in 2019 garnered $12,000 in profits.
“The business fair is a cornerstone of our school,” said Brent Devost, the head of the school. “All of the students put together a business plan, which includes a marketing plan, all of the financial data that goes into starting up a business, and they submit that to our director of financial education.”
Devost said he received comments that it was like a farmer’s market, which he said is a testament to how much work the students put into their businesses and products. Every North Point student takes financial education classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
The younger students had a parent or guardian to help them operate their booth. The young entrepreneurs are also taught about communication with customers and customer service.
The price tags on items ranged from 25 cents to $200.
The name of the fair was changed this year to the Young Entrepreneurs Business Fair from the original name, the “Boys in Business” Business Fair, because North Point is starting a School for Girls next year. The first fair was hosted in 2015 with seven students building a business.
Several sponsors help the school put on the event, but the students get to keep their profits and many donate a portion to local charities.
“That’s something that they’ll just do on their own initiative. They’ll donate to something special to them, out of their profits,” Devost said.
Gavin Sheppard, a Grade 9 student, was selling T-shirts with designs he created. He had some shirts on hand but got other customers to fill out an order form for delivery.
“I like to draw, so I decided to put some of the designs on shirts,” said Gavin, explaining that one design is of a magpie.
This was his first time participating in the business fair but he said he had such a great experience he would do it again.
“I like that I’m figuring all this out while I’m 14 instead of when I’m 30,” said Gavin.
Devost said he’s found the fair is a great way for the students to interact with the community, learn social skills and put the school’s financial education into practice.