Nearly 100, 4th-6th-grade students from McMurray Elementary in Peters Township School District activated their entrepreneurial spirits for the McMurray Arts Festival and Young Entrepreneurs Fair.
The Young Entrepreneurs Fair is part of a partnership where the students receive a crash course in business ownership, through the JA More than Money program which is taught by local business leaders during the fall. Students have the opportunity to get real-world advice and hands-on learning on subjects such as spending, sharing and saving money, and businesses they can start or jobs they can perform to earn money.
The students who participate in the Junior Achievement program during the fall also have the opportunity to visit the JA Trade Show. This year's trade show featured 8 local business owners who shared their own experiences and answered questions from the students. Although it is strongly recommended for students that want to participate in the spring Young Entrepreneurs Fair to attend the Junior Achievement program in the Fall, it is not required and vice versa.
The spring Young Entrepreneurs Challenge is the grand finale for the students to show what they've learned during the school year through either Junior Achievement or through the guidance of their teachers. In this challenge, students will create a small business, design a unique product(s), produce, and sell that product(s) at the McMurray Arts Festival and Young Entrepreneurs Fair.
Students will also be expected to do the following:
- Approach a friend or family member to invest in their company (seed money).
- Approach a teacher to act as an adviser for their company throughout the school year. They will meet with this adviser twice a month to update them on their progress and discuss any challenges they may be experiencing.
- Create their product at home.
- Choose a charity to donate the proceeds of the sale of their product.
- Set up a company booth at the McMurray Arts Festival and Young Entrepreneurs Fair to sell their product.
"This is a gem of a program growing right here in Washington County," said Greg Gold, Owner & General Manager of Miller's Ace Hardware. "This program is a great example of how the JA/school partnership can grow in ways well beyond the boundaries of the program's intentions." Gold also sits on Junior Achievement's Washington County Board and is a continued, passionate supporter and volunteer for this event.
Over 100 students participated in the fair, creating and selling their items to a crowd well into the hundreds. Many students were passionate and excited about their products, but we spoke with two bright and exuberant 4th graders, to find out what they enjoyed most about being an entrepreneur.
Fourth-grader Kaleb of Kaleb's Creations, enticed customers to visit his booth with not only knowledge of the wood he used to create his products but his enthusiasm to work with his hands and on his own.
Animal-loving fourth-grader Isabella of Sweet Soaps by Bella, said she is most passionate about making her own soap company because she can help save the rainforests in the process. Bella explained to us that many soap making recipes call for palm oil, an industry that is linked to many major issues such as deforestation and habitat loss in the countries it is produced in. She hopes that with her all natural ingredient soap products that she can help reverse these effects one day.
If you would like to learn more about Junior Achievement's involvement in this event, please contact Ed Chess