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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Local Children’s Business Fair Allows Future Entrepreneurs to Shine

An+event+held+by+Acton+Children%E2%80%99s+Business+Fair+on+May+19+at+Friendship+Heights+in+Chevy+Chase%2C+MD+allowed+kids+of+all+ages+to+introduce+their+businesses+to+the+community.+%28Selena+Said%2FInternational+Dateline%29
An event held by Acton Children’s Business Fair on May 19 at Friendship Heights in Chevy Chase, MD allowed kids of all ages to introduce their businesses to the community. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

On May 19, children of all ages were given the opportunity to shine as entrepreneurs. The Acton Children’s Business Fair held in Chevy Chase, MD allowed kids to showcase their ideas and sell their products, training themselves for a future in business. From the friendly ambiance to the variety of the items being sold, the children who attended were exposed to a new and exciting field: the world of entrepreneurship.

The Acton Children’s Business Fair was started in 2007 by Jeff Sandefer and Laura Sandefer, with the aim of opening up the world of business to their children. The two founded the Acton Academy Network, a non-profit organization that connects children with communities around the globe who are interested in entrepreneurship. Their first fair was held in Austin, Texas, organized with help from various families. In the end, the fair was successful, and the family decided to expand the project. 

The Chevy Chase fair was organized by Naman Gupta, a young entrepreneur. To make this event possible, Gupta had to contact a contracting company to rent out tables and chairs, set up fliers around the area and advocate for sponsorships from companies.

Although it took a lot of effort to run the event, Gupta believed that it was all worthwhile.

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“The goal is to give young entrepreneurs in my community a space to further business ideas that they have and start learning entrepreneurial skills, like public speaking skills [and] leadership skills,” Gupta said. 

The young entrepreneurs were selected based on the potential and authenticity of their business ideas. From Gupta’s experience, bringing together these particularly innovative children creates a supportive environment.

Participant Jenna Hakky, a 13-year-old business owner, founded “Scented Glow,” where she sells affordable and organic self-care products such as lip gloss, sugar scrubs, candles and jewelry. 

 

A front view of Hakky’s stand for her business, “Scented Glow,” showcasing her colorful and inviting displays. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

 

Hakky was inspired by noticing similar products she had seen online and their high price tag. Hakky truly valued the opportunity to share her business and inspiration with others.

“Not only do I learn about the fun experience [that comes with the fair], but I meet more people,” Hakky said. “I get to learn more about supply and demand, and how it is to run a business.”

Jenna Hakky’s father Allan Hakky echoed his daughter’s sentiments. He watched his daughter learn about the hidden aspects of running a business such as determining the cost of her products and incorporating economics and math into her decisions.  

“It’s a lot of really practical experience,” Allan Hakky said. “How do you advertise yourself? How [do you] talk? A lot of the stuff [that] she’s learning, six months ago, she had zero experience [with].”

Although this was Jenna Hakky’s first time attending and experiencing an event like this, she felt prepared and went in with a positive attitude.

“I hope it goes well,” she said. “And if it doesn’t, this is all just a learning experience. In the end, I’m having fun. I spent time with my family while making this, and that’s all that matters.”

A couple of stands away, 9-year-old twins Olivia and William Naaman presented their business: “Twice as Crafty Twins.” 

The Naaman twins sold various items such as space paintings and succulents they planted themselves, showcasing their craftsmanship.  

 

Olivia and William Naaman’s booth with all their crafts on display. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

 

Olivia and William Naaman’s booth with all their crafts on display. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

“I think what makes our business unique is the variety and the creativity and how we made it all homemade,” William Naaman said. 

The mother of the twins Meranee Naaman felt incredibly proud of her children’s interest and investment in their business.

“[Acton Children’s Business Fair] was a perfect opportunity,” she said. “They’ve been asking for it, and so I said, ‘Well, absolutely, if you want to do it, but you guys got to come up with your own business idea and plan.’”

Leading up to the business fair, the twins were constantly thinking about the event since a lot of planning needed to be done.

“I think for them, it was a good experience of the basics of business and understanding what it takes to actually get a business up and running,” Meranee Naaman said. 

Similarly, William Naaman described the fair as a rewarding experience, despite the stress that comes with attending an event like this at a young age. Thus, they felt motivated to continue their business beyond the fair.  

Madeleine Etter, an 11-year-old business owner, sold an assortment of self-made earrings at the fair. Her business, “Honey Bee,” is a unique jewelry store as each piece is named after a specific moment in her life that inspired it. 

 

Etter standing behind the many pairs of earrings she made herself. She was prepared to share the story behind every single piece. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

 

Etter standing behind the many pairs of earrings she made herself. She was prepared to share the story behind every single piece. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

For example, one of her pieces was named Algarve, after a region in south Portugal. “People in Portugal are known for their architecture and Portuguese style,” Etter said. “So, those [beads on the earrings] remind me a little bit [of] tiles.”

Etter was very fond of her experience attending the fair as the environment was very friendly, allowing her to explore different businesses and meet new people.   

“Everyone is super nice and supportive,” she said. Etter further commented that she was mesmerized by all the extraordinary booths as she could see all the talent surrounding her.

Etter’s mother Erin Davis loved that her daughter could finally show off her creative passion to others within the community. According to Davis, the benefit of having children’s business fairs such as these is that children can take risks within a safe space. 

“There are life skills that you aren’t necessarily taught in school, and it’s a chance to try them in a safe environment and really grow and expand,” she said. “Even just seeing how she’s thinking about it differently from when she did last in third grade compared to now as a fifth grader [shows the impact of events like this one].”

For all the participants, business owners and their parents alike, their thoughts and experiences throughout the journey of preparing for the business fair and sharing openly at the event, brought on a lot of reflection. 

For Jenna Hakky, Olivia and William Naaman and Madeleine Etter, this opportunity taught them to persevere and work towards their goals without giving up. 

“Everyone fails, but then you have to get back up,” Jenna Hakky said. “Just don’t give up on your dreams.” 

These moments can boost the confidence of the children participating and empower them to engage with their community and interact with new people. 

“I think confidence is so important for children no matter what, but especially for girls,” Meranee Naaman said. “So, the confidence to try and the confidence to succeed or fail [is important for them]; you’re gonna learn something either way.”

Overall, Gupta had strong hopes for the business fair, hoping it would guide the future of these young business owners.

“I’m very excited to see how they take their ideas and turn [them] into an opportunity that can take them [further] in life,” Gupta said. 

By Selena Said

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Selena Said
Selena Said, WIS News Editor
Hi, I’m Selena! I am currently a sophomore and this year, I am a WIS News Editor. This is now my second year being a part of Dateline and I was previously an Arts Editor. I like to cover news and fun stories that have a connection to the WIS community. Outside of Dateline, I like playing tennis and reading. 

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