ST. JOSEPH — Genevieve Gatt said she’s always had an interest in becoming an entrepreneur.
On Friday, she did just that as 10 local children set up a lemonade stand near the Krasl Art Center, selling beverages in an effort to raise money for Lory’s Place. Genevieve, 10, was there taking part in Kidpreneur Camp – a weeklong camp.
“My favorite part was probably learning to be confident in myself and overcoming my fear of talking to new people,” she said.
All week the kids learned entrepreneurial and life skills as they relate to starting a business.
Those participating in the camp learned about marketing, innovation, inventing and the difference between a product and a service. By the end of Friday, the group of young entrepreneurs raised $844.36 for Lory’s Place.
Heather Shelby, founder of Spark. Ignite. Launch! Learning Academy, created the camp after helping her daughter start her own business last fall. After seeing how much her daughter learned and enjoyed the process, Shelby began making plans for the camp in February.
“I thought other kids would like to do that,” Shelby said. “All of this includes important skills to have. We’ve been blown away by the support.”
Shelby said the kids were natural entrepreneurs and that it’s been amazing to see their creativity.
“Seeing the kids get so excited about it has been great,” she said. “The opportunity to give back to the community in some way was an added bonus.”
Over this past week, campers completed several tasks and activities by getting into groups and trying to work through a problem in a scenario.
They invented a game and played it to see how it worked. They underwent market research for their lemonade stand and got feedback from Krasl staff on how everything tasted.
The group was given three options regarding where the money they raised from the lemonade business should go. They voted in favor of Lory’s Place, which helps Southwest Michigan residents deal with grief and loss.
Next they went throughout downtown St. Joseph and passed out fliers for the stand they created.
Steffen Ganum, 11, was surprised by how easy the process was and how responsive the public was to their business venture.
“I thought it was going to be iffy at first, but it turned out great,” he said. “It’s nice that it’s going to a great cause.”
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