There’s no business like Kidz Biz-ness

By on July 25, 2018

Kids learned how to have fun and be creative, starting up their own kid businesses while developing lifelong entrepreneurship skills, at the Lancaster Evangelical Free Church’s inaugural Kidz Biz Expo in the Luther Acres community room on July 19.

Alia Zook is 11. She’s a soap-maker and the co-owner of SunnySide Soaps. (sunnysidesoaps.com) Her dad, Dean, is her business partner. After working at Snitz Creek Cabinet Shop and Smokeless Heat all day, he teams up with Alia to make homemade soaps. The crew from SunnySide Soaps had a great time at the Kids Biz Expo. The sales were brisk and Alia hit a home run with her soap making demo.

Kidz Biz Expo hosted 16 local kid-owned and kid-operated businesses and kid-crafted products represented by 34 children ages six to 15. Dema Kohen, KidMin Pastor at LEFC was asked by a consultant how children could contribute to the church’s massive building project. Kohen teamed up with nine business owners and entrepreneurs from church and came up with this successful program.

“I put together a six-week course called Kingdompreneur Academy, to teach kids how to start and run their own businesses,” said Kohen.

For six weeks, 19 students, ages eight through 14 attended each session with their assigned mentor and parents who enjoyed the fun and unique bonding experience through hands on activities.

“When Operation 50/50 started, we gave them 50 days to do something with the $50,” said Kohen. “Each student left with a $50 start-up capital we gave them and a unique business plan that they crafted with the help of their mentors.”

Children were taught ethics of money and work, and how to turn passion and hard work into profit. They also learned about creating a business plan, marketing, branding, and pricing.
“I thought: we need to give them a platform to showcase what they came up with, an opportunity to sell their products and services to the community. Thus, the idea of Kidz Biz Expo was birthed,” said Kohen.

Kohen reached out to other Lancaster County schools and homeschool groups to invite their budding business owners to sign up for Kidz Biz Expo. As a result, nine other kid-operated Lancaster county businesses joined in.

“The Kidz Biz Expo was fun. I liked how there were so many people and so many different businesses. I like how I was allowed to bring my friend, my neighbor,” said Brayden Neupauer, 10-year-old handyman.

The Stoltzfus brothers (Kaidan, 13; Elliot, 11; and Bennett, 9), a.k.a. Oiling Bros., create essential oil roller ball blends customized for individual needs to aid in sleep, energy, memory and emotions. They can be reached at oilingbros@gmail.com.

“These are our tools,” explained Mitchell Orth, 11, Neupauer’s friend and neighbor as he pointed out a wheel barrow loaded with lawn tools. Neupauer and Orth are the proud owners of Happy Home Helpers, a kid business that helps out inside and outside around the house.

“I practiced mowing my yard. I’m getting a pressure washer, too. A lot of weeding is what I usually do,” said Neupauer describing the hard work some people don’t have time for. Abby Jackson, 12, anime artist, won most original business idea for her colored pencil drawings. She also draws realistic animals and landscapes and experiments with other mediums such as charcoal and digital media art.

“I love to do animation art portrait because I am able catch people’s personalities in a fun way. I also love the pop of color and lines that are in anime art,” explains Jackson with beaming enthusiasm. Jackson is a taking a painting class this fall at Lancaster Academy for the Performing Arts.
Many children chose to donate their profits to charities.

“My brother Josiah has Down syndrome, and he has a hip disorder, pancreas problems, and more,” said Jackson. “I was inspired to raise money for charities like Joni & Friends because I want people with disabilities to have the best life experience possible.”

Abby’s sister Keturah Jackson, 11, is a baker who has perfected her recipe over three years using blueberries, lavender, lemons and other ingredients from her family garden, local farms, and markets. Ninette Jackson, the girls’ mother, learned the trade at her dad’s bakery and passed along the tradition. The young baker wants to experiment with new flavors of fruits and herbs.

“The cookies are an old fashioned Italian butter cookie recipe that I updated last Christmas for a cookie competition — fresh for summer with lavender buds and lemon zest. When I am older I would like to pursue my dream of opening my own bakery, like my Pop Pop,” she said. “So remember the name, Keturah’s Kreations!”

Abby Jackson, 12, loves art. Looking for an “new” way to portray her subjects, she decided to make unique animation-style portraits, which are vibrant in color, design and ultra-unique. She was also inspired by her brother who has Down syndrome, who loves to pose for her artwork.

Young business owner Zipporah McGowan made donut shaped hand warmer/stress donuts.

“When I was younger I loved to sew simple things and watch my Mom’s sewing machine. I even got a small little sewing machine that I got to use. My mom was the one who taught me how to sew and craft some other things,” says McGowan, 11, who also loves to create intricate Lego structures. Riley Shroyer, 13, eighth grade homeschooler, started crocheting when she was seven, and sewing at age nine. She experimented with a knitting loom at age 12, then started knitting with needles somewhere near the end of 2017. Zoey Shroyer, 8, her third grade little sister, makes a few headbands, necklaces, and bracelets too.

“My abuelita taught me how to crochet when I was about seven years old. In memory of her, I’m donating a portion of my profits to Amigos De Jesús,” says Riley Shroyer “My favorite thing to crochet would be my owl eye masks. They are definitely my most popular product and I just love to see people’s faces when they realize they are eye masks.” Representatives of sponsoring organizations served as judges, rating the children’s businesses by most original business idea, most creative presentation, and highest business potential. Six $50 cash prize winners were chosen. SunnySide Soaps won the people’s choice award for a $100 cash prize.

“I know kids left inspired. Someone actually liked what they have created and gave them money,” says Kohen, who’s already thinking about Kidz Biz Expo 2019. “Over 200 attendees took interest in their work and showered them with compliments. I can see these children rising to doing even greater things as a result of this.”

Sarah Hummer is a freelance contributor to the Record Express. She was a kid writer and kid photographer for the school newspaper and yearbook. She may be contacted at hummersarahj@hotmail.com. 

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One Comment

  1. Joel Lingenfelter

    July 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you Sarah. A key component of Kingdompreneur Academy was teaching kids a biblical world view of money and how to run a business in a manner that honors God. Important lessons for some very talented young kids.

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