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Have you ever wanted to host a children’s business fair? It’s been on my mind for several years but when I think about all the work that it would require, I’d talk myself out of it. Instead, I’d allow my kiddos to set up a lemonade stand in our yard and just sell to the few people who drove by. No plan, no advertising and honestly, not really worth the effort.
But, when your kiddo has been bitten by the “entrepreneur bug,” it’s hard to tell them no. You want to nourish that spark of motivation and help them learn lessons that they’ll only gain from experience.
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When I heard about Acton Children’s Fair, I knew that even I could host a children’s fair!
Acton’s Children’s Business Fair makes it a breeze to host a children’s fair! In fact, they’ll even give you the money you need to help cover expenses!
What Exactly is An Acton Children’s Business Fair?
Acton Children’s Business Fairs are events that are held to help young entrepreneurs gain confidence and experience. Kids make items, then set up a booth and sell their items to customers in a safe environment.
In 2007, the Sandefer family held the first ever Acton Children’s Business Fair in Austin, Texas, in an attempt to spark wonder and entrepreneurship in their own children. It went so well, they knew they had to help other parents do the same! That’s how the Acton Children’s Business Fair was born.
The growing network of Acton Academy schools and the Acton Next Great Adventure program make it possible for inspired families to hold their own fairs for free. In fact, they even offer funds to help make sure you have everything you need to make your fair successful for everyone!
Who Can Host a Children’s Fair?
Acton Children’s Business Fair has simplified the process of hosting your own fair. Anyone can host a business fair, as long as they can pass a background check. You don’t need a fancy building, lots of money or tons of help.
In fact, all you need is a table and a yard!
What Does Acton Children’s Business Fair Provide?
When I say the process has been simplified, I mean, it’s super simple! Acton Children’s Business Fairs are held all over the world and they have one easy website that makes getting young entrepreneurs signed up a breeze!
Acton Children’s Business Fairs provide:
- Background Checks
- Up for $500 to use as you need
- Facebook Group to ask questions or get fresh ideas
What’s in the Toolkit?
The easy-to-use fair toolkit is full of helpful information, documents and so much more! It’s conveniently broken into 5 folders, so you can simply do what’s next on the list.
The “Plan” folder has everything you need to start planning your children’s business fair. It includes a budget worksheet and a children’s business fair guidebook.
The “Recruit” folder has everything you need to fill all the positions you’ll need for your fair. It includes email templates for sponsors, judges and an acceptance letter for participants. Just fill in the blanks and click “Send Email!”
This folder also has a template for Sponsorship Opportunities, if you choose to do that at your fair. It has sponsorships available from $100 to $1,500!
The “Promote” folder has everything you need to spread the word about your fair. Besides several logos to choose from, there is also a style-guide so you can create your own flyers.
This folder also has ready-made flyers, press release email templates and a huge list of helpful resources.
My favorite thing that I found in the “Promote” folder is the “The 3 Magic Seeds of Entrepreneurship” pdf. It’s a great look into why and how you can encourage your kiddos to chase their dreams.
The “3 Magic Seeds of Entrepreneurship” include:
1. Make something with his or her own hands
2. Sell it to a stranger
3. Experience the freedom of having a little extra spending money as a reward
The “Execute” folder has judge score cards and editable awards templates that you can print off yourself. This is super helpful because you are in total control of what awards will be given at your own fair.
Some awards ideas include:
- Best Presentation
- Best Business Plan
- Most Creative Business Idea
- Best Salesmen
- Heart of Gold Award
- Most Fashionable
- Earth-Friendly Award
- Pet-tastic Award
- Best Baker
- Most Improved
Once the Acton Children’s Business Fair is over, you’ll need to evaluate your event. Once again, they’ve made it super simple to evaluate your results.
You just need to answer a few easy questions:
- Number of Booths
- How Many Entrepreneurs?
- Number of Visitors
- On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend Acton’s Children’s Business Fair to a friend?
- Upload your photos
- Who should the check be written to and where should it be sent?
- Would you like to select a date for your next fair?
In the “Evaluate” folder, you’ll also find a breakdown of FAQ regarding the money that Acton Children’s Fair provides.
Each fair can receive up to $500, depending on how big your fair is.
You receive $10 for the first 25 registered booths and $5 for each booth, thereafter, up to $500.
- Our fair had 28 booths, with 41 child entrepreneurs.
- We received $265 from Acton Children’s Fair.
- We rented our local Community Center for $50.
- With the rest of the money, we bought each participant a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop that was started by a local entrepreneurial family.
The money is a great addition and helps to alleviate the burden for the host of the children’s fair. It’s meant to offset the costs of the fair.
A few ways you can use the provided money:
- Rent a location
- Invest in tables, chairs or tents
- Prize money for the “big winners”
- Small prize for each participant
- Goody bags
Where Can I Host a Children’s Fair?
Acton Children’s Business Fairs are held all over the world! There are several already planned but if there isn’t one in your area, it’s simple to host a children’s business fair!
Acton Children’s Business Fair can issue payments to over 70 countries. If you aren’t in one of those countries, they can issue your money through Paypal!
Hosting your own children’s fair is so easy, I had mine registered in under 30 minutes! All you have to do is go to Acton Children’s Business Fair and search for an event in your area. If there’s not one, just click “Start Your Own.”
Next you’ll need to “audition.”
This is as easy as 1-2-3!
- Tell Us About Yourself
- Tell Us About Your Fair
- Get Ready to Launch
After you’re approved, you can start accepting applications.
Again, Acton Children’s Business Fair has done the hard work for you! Folks can simply head to the website, choose your fair date and submit an application and short audition video.
Then all you need to do is review the business application and accept or reject them.
This is super easy. I only had to reject one submission because they were only planning to buy and resale small bags of chips and cans of soda pop. We required them to actually make something with their own hands.
I chose not to advertise my fair at all but just shared a link to the site on my own personal Facebook page. After just 2 days, I had to stop accepting applications!
While I only expected about 6-8 kids to participate, I had over 25 booth applications in under 48 hours!
Our space just isn’t big enough for a lot of kids, so I had to stop at 25! (I did allow siblings to sign up after I had already closed the applications. They saw how excited their brothers and sisters were and decided they wanted in on this fun opportunity!)
Start a Facebook group for participants:
It can feel overwhelming to keep up with everyone and answer all the questions that participants might have. I decided to open a Facebook group for all participants. Here, I encouraged them to stay motivated, answered their questions and helped them in any way I could.
A few weeks before our children’s business fair, I asked everyone to share what their kiddos would be selling. I found that this is a very important thing to share with each other. While we had several folks who wanted to sell desserts, they now knew that there would be a few other booths with cupcakes, so they opted to make candies instead. This helped make sure you have a large variety of items available for shoppers.
Remember, just because you know what everyone will be selling, doesn’t mean other participants will. You are the only one who will see their application, where that information will be found.
Create an event:
Another thing we used Facebook for was to create a local event. This is super easy and only takes a few minutes! Then, Facebook does all of the hard work by showing it to folks in your area. On the first day that we created an event, we had over 30 people mark “interested” in our event. Then, it showed up on their own personal timelines so their friends saw it! It was a great way to spread the word, with very little effort!
Contact your local news stations:
Newspapers, news stations, local entrepreneur groups and our area’s Chamber of Commerce proved to be a great way to spread the word!
Just a few days after we created our Facebook event page, our local news stations began contacting me. They wanted to cover our event which is nothing more than free advertising!
Our local college asked to interview a few of our entrepreneurs for their podcast so that’s also in the works!
Tons of people want to share the news about motivated youth so they’ll basically give you free advertisement!
While Acton Children’s Business Fair offers all sorts of resources to help you host a jaw-dropping fair, we decided to keep our first fair small.
- We didn’t include sponsorships.
- Instead of including everyone, we limited the number of booths.
- We didn’t offer tons of prizes.
Things to Sell
Some folks will want to participate but they haven’t found a product or service that lit a fire under them! Offer them simple ideas to get started.
Some easy booth ideas include:
- Face painting
- Painted rocks
For even more ideas, check out these easy ideas that will inspire and motivate your kiddos to start selling!
Go the Extra Mile
Putting together a goody bag or printing out a simple award may not seem like a big deal to you. However, these little tokens of appreciation are a BIG DEAL for kiddos! Acknowledging their hard work is worth a lot to children. It inspires them to do more, work harder and strive to do even better next time! Trust me, this little act of kindness won’t go unnoticed.
If you want to inspire a generation of business owners and leaders, hosting a kids business fair is a great way to do so! Acton Children’s Business Fair provides all of the tools needed to host a fair, along with $500 prize money, no matter where you are in the world