CHICO — Saturday’s Chico Marketplace was a learning opportunity for 19 children. Their young entrepreneurs sold products that ranged from fishing lures, welded metalworks, and bookmarks at the Biz Kidz Expo.
Chicostart and Chico State Center for Entrepreneurship sponsor the Biz Kidz Showcase, which is part of the Chico Marketplace Back to School, Back to Giving school supply drive.
Riley McGaugh was the opening of Riley’s Re-Marks during the event. Allie Spini-McGaugh was also there. McGaugh applied after she received a school email. She would later receive an email inviting her to the showcase.
Spini-McGaugh said that it was simply something she chose to do. She decided to do it, and we supported her. But this is her fault. She is more confident than I was at her age. This taught her to trust herself, build her confidence and discover what she could do.
Brett-Ellie McGuire participated in the marketplace for only the second time in her professional career. She previously sold jewelry and keychains. After making enough money, she purchased her welding machine. ChicoStart would interview her as every other business owner at the showcase.
McGuire stated, “We must give a 1-minute pitch about our products or businesses.” McGuire said, “I showed them pictures of myself and told them about my business, how I started it and how it will grow.” Although it was nerve-racking, I felt great once I had done it.
Each participant would be judged and awarded in a competition for prizes, including a $250 grand prize and a meeting with Eva ShepherdNicoll (executive director of ChicoStart) and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Chico State.
Shepherd-Nicoll said, “We ask them questions like, “Does your family know how much money they have invested in this?” They need to know that. We ask them about their sales, whether they have made their logo, and even if the entrepreneur is something they are familiar with.
The experience gives participants a perspective on what it’s like to run a small business.
Higgs said, “They are creating. They must set up their booth to sit at it.” They must figure out how they will take payments and what they want to charge for the product they sell. This event truly reflects what it’s like to own your business. But, I love it because it’s their choice. It doesn’t have the same pressure as owning a large company.
Brett-Ellie McGuire awarded Metal Works the grand prize for the best overall business. Six other businesses were awarded the best entrepreneurs award, including Kai’s Leather Works and Cay-Dough.
Biz Kidz Showcase, an annual event for children 6-17 years old, is held annually. The next showcase will take place in July 2023.