Kidovate Proves Power of Young Entrepreneurs

What do you get when you set up 30 young entrepreneurs with a place to sell their wares at The Bay Centre? A whole lot of sales and some very impressed people who saw the big potential of youth in business.

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Held last Saturday at The Bay Centre, Kidovate Victoria 2019 featured 30 young entrepreneurs from 10 to 16 years old who sold a variety of handcrafted items, from jewelry and greeting cards to plants, bath bombs, soap, snow cones and more.

“I was blown away by the creativity and quality of the product,” says Dr. Brock Smith, area champion for entrepreneurship at UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. “These young entrepreneurs engaged with Bay Centre customers, articulately explained their value proposition, and made sales. I was especially impressed by the young man selling snow cones and slushies. He delivered an assumptive close like a seasoned sales person …”

Growing Entrepreneurship Early
Kidovate is an initiative of UVic’s Gustavson School of Business that aims to develop entrepreneurial skill at an early age. As Smith explains, “In recent years there has been a concerted effort to improve our national innovation capacity by placing more emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in middle schools and high schools.”

“But there has been little focus on entrepreneurship,” he adds. That’s something Kidovate is setting out to change.

“If we want more, and more successful entrepreneurs, to commercialize innovation, we need to begin developing those skills at an early age. The best way to become an expert entrepreneur is to practice deliberately being an entrepreneur.”

That’s where Kidovate comes in. This fun, free, youth entrepreneurship experience that encourages and helps youth become entrepreneurs and learn by doing. Youth can download a graphic novel that helps them think through key business decisions, be connected to UVic business student mentors, then sell whatever they make at a Kidovate market.

Learning for Life
Saturday’s Kidovate market was a pilot project for an event Dr. Smith hopes will be an annual activity.

“Entrepreneurship is a life skill,” says Smith. “Even if these youth don’t end up starting their own business, they will see the world differently, be better able to recognize opportunities to create value in all sorts of contexts, and have the skills to create value and be the change agents that make things happen.”

“It would be great to see a lot more youth participate in Kidovate next year,” he adds.
Learn more about Kidovate andnext year’s event at kidovate.ca.

This news release was received May 2019.