MULGRAVE: A new program in the town which encourages youth entrepreneurship is taking shape.
Biz Kids, a program in the Mulgrave area promoting new businesses started by young people, is underway.
Kristen Hadley, with the Mulgrave Area Revitalization Association (MARA), and Hannah Chisholm, with Market by the Sea, are overseeing the program which now has six participants.
A similar program was offered years ago, and Hadley said the community groups decided that this was a good time for a return.
“It gives youth the opportunity to learn some valuable business skills that we can give them; create a sense of responsibility and showcase their creativity, while also being able to make some pocket money for themselves,” she told The Reporter.
Heather Brennan, who is with the Town of Mulgrave, explained that the 12-member MARA committee was formed in 2018 to transform the former Mulgrave Memorial Education Centre into a multi-use facility, which is nearing its maximum capacity.
Brennan said MARA (of which she is a member) is eager to support the program. Brennan said participants were each given $50 from MARA as start-up money to start their own business.
“Now we’re branching off into other areas, and we thought a youth entrepreneurship program would be a great thing for us to sponsor,” she noted.
As part of the partnership with the Market by the Sea, Brennan (who is also a member of that group) said participants will attend to sell their wares, and can even attend their Christmas market.
“The fee for the table is waived for them,” she noted. “They can go set up their table and bring their goods, and then then they can sell their good there. They can also put some stuff here (Mulgrave town offices) if they have things that they want to sell.”
Hadley said participants can reach them via email, and in the case of posters for each business, they were able to print them in colour and post them on the Biz Kids Facebook page to advertise each business.
“We just mentor the Biz Kids and help them out if they need anything, print posters for them; anything they might need a hand with, or questions they have, they come to us,” Chisholm noted.
With the program starting last week, an orientation session was held on July 27 for those involved in the program.
At the orientation, Hadley said they offered a PowerPoint presentation on valuable business skills like budgeting, a guest speaker from the Canadian Business Development Corporation who discussed advertising and marketing, and participants were given contracts to sign and business plans to fill out.
“We just helped them and answered any questions they would’ve had, and gave them their cheque and basically just sent them on their way to be able to start their business,” she explained.
Participants in the Biz Kids program can be found at the weekly markets in Mulgrave which will take place each Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. until Sept. 9.
“I just hope that the kids have an opportunity to learn things about business, be responsible, start their own business,” Hadley added. “I hope they have fun when doing it. I think starting a project like this has helped me a lot personally. I’ve been able to do posts on social media, do the orientation; it made me a lot more organized.”
“To get the youth involved, it gets them connected to the community, it gets them out in the market, which is a good life experience,” Chisholm added.
Brennan, Hadley and Chisholm all expressed a hope that younger kids will be interested in joining in the future and that the program will continue to be offered every year in Mulgrave.