Kids have great ideas. Everyone knows this; everyone has always known this. We see it all over the internet, in our newspapers, and on countless television shows. But, out of the millions of kids all over the world, how many of them get an opportunity to take these ideas and turn them into something great? The Triangle Children’s Business Fair, coming up this Saturday at Park West Village, will give kids this chance.
The Triangle Children’s Business Fair was started in 2016 by an awesome group of local moms to give kids an amazing opportunity- learn how to start a business. Participants ages 6 to 14 develop a brand, create a product, market their idea, and sell at a street-fair style event. Ideas range from lemonade stands to homemade dog treats, cupcakes to handmade soaps, home goods to slime- the possibilities are literally endless. Over 130 kids will participate in this year’s fair, and make no mistake that they’re running the show. Parents are only allowed minimal involvement; the kid-prenuers handle everything from elevator pitches (I’m serious- they have elevator pitches) to counting change for customers.
Why start a fair? As someone who has been involved since the first year, I can say that TCBF is no small endeavor. Coordinating with hundreds of children and parents, organizing event logistics, and PRAYING that it doesn’t rain the morning of your outdoor fair is not easy. However, Rupal Nishar, the face (and heart and soul and arms and legs) of TCBF has been game on since day one. “As a child, growing up, I feel like I did not get those opportunities,” she explains, “and I want to give back to the community by making sure that every child has those opportunities.” The vision of TCBF is to provide a safe environment for kids to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship and to get kids to start thinking outside the box.
There is no box large enough to contain the ideas of the kid-preneurs at TCBF. Each year, the ideas get more and more creative, and just when you think you have them figured out, the business ideas will astound you. One of the amazing things about the kid-prenuers is how they develop a concept based on their resources. To give some background, when I was a child aged 6 to 14 I was playing with Barbies and watching Scooby Doo. These kids create business ideas out of their backyard. In 2017, one business
was started when a young kid-prenuer who lived next to a golf course, started collecting golf balls that landed in his yard and sold them back to the golfers. He also gave the option to hand-decorate the golf balls and sell them back to you at a premium. I have said it many times- we will ALL be working for this kid one day.
A few other notable kid-preneurs include published authors, talented artists, and creative philanthropists. Camryn of Camryn’s Creations is a local artist who published a book on entrepreneurship for kids- she even came to the pre-fair Launch Party event and spoke to this year’s kid-preneurs. “She’s going to be an Oprah. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when,” Rupal says (and I 1000% agree). Salem of Salem & Company creates handmade earrings and donates $5 from every purchase to Hydrating Humanity. Salem and many other kid-preneur businesses raise money and awareness for non-profit organizations and social causes. I’m just saying, there is no way you leave the fair without crying about how awesome these kids are at least seven times. At least if you’re me.
One of the amazing things about being involved in TCBF is the sheer capacity of the event. TCBF is the largest child entrepreneurship fair in the country. Being in Morrisville, in the heart of RTP, is a no brainer for an entrepreneur event. “We have New York and Silicon Valley. Why can’t Morrisville be the next thriving place for young entrepreneurs?” Rupal explains. I think it can and it will, based on the community’s response to TCBF. This year, the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce is getting involved with a mentor workshop to connect the kid-preneurs with local business owners. The number of sponsors and community partners grow every year. Park West Village, the host since 2016, continues to help grow and cultivate the event. “Park West Village has been the backbone of this event,” Rupal says. “They have been an amazing partner to work with.”
Triangle Children’s Business Fair is back this Saturday at Park West Village- the fair runs 10am-12:30pm followed by a special awards ceremony. Come be one of the hundreds of community members cheering these kids on- and be prepared to shop til you drop (or at least run out of all your cash). These kids will astound you. “They are fearless,” Rupal says. Maybe these kid-preneurs will teach us something new. Or maybe one of them will let me in on one of these cool ideas- I think I would be pretty good at decorating golf balls.