Children’s Business Fair: an Exciting Game for Entrepreneurs Ages 4 and Up 

Paper Airplane Surprises would make a great band name. The combination of whimsy and imagination signals something intriguing ahead. It’s also a good name for a business. Founded by the grade-school-aged children of entrepreneur Casey Putschoegl—herself the owner of 33Vincent, a business that connects and supports remote executive assistants—Paper Airplane Surprises offers consumers a customized…

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Paper Airplane Surprises would make a great band name. The combination of whimsy and imagination signals something intriguing ahead. It’s also a good name for a business.

Founded by the grade-school-aged children of entrepreneur Casey Putschoegl—herself the owner of 33Vincent, a business that connects and supports remote executive assistants—Paper Airplane Surprises offers consumers a customized paper airplane featuring a piece of candy tucked inside. Putschoegl’s children love candy and paper airplanes. Why not put them together?

The creative spark that launched Paper Airplane Surprises was facilitated by the Children’s Business Fair, a semiannual competition hosted by Acton Academy at the Omaha Design Center. The Children’s Business Fair offers kids the chance to launch their own startups. They develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at a one-day marketplace. 

According to Acton Academy founder Rachel Benson, last month’s Children’s Business Fair drew 70 participants and resulted in 50 businesses (kids are allowed to team up to bring an idea to life). 13 sponsors, 30 volunteers and 16 judges helped carry out the event.

“It was just a celebratory day,” Benson said. “The energy was so strong. All the children were coming in, getting all set up. The judges always comment to me, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go broke today.’”

Josh Berry, co-founder and CEO of presenting sponsor Econic, commends the Children’s Business Fair for igniting curiosity and creativity that traditional schools might stifle.

 “Kids need opportunities to practice being courageous and taking risks and trying new things, especially when you can pair that with creating their own ideas and businesses,” Berry said. “It’s creating a safe space to practice curiosity and trying new things.”

Berry believes the Children’s Business Fair encourages that intangible energy—call it grit, resilience, agility, whatever—so crucial to entrepreneurial success.

“Kids have to be alright with trying and learning and not just trying to memorize or get at the right answer,” he said.

It’s Never Too Early to Start a Business

Acton Academy combines technology, creativity, and curiosity in a self-paced learning environment where perfectionism and rote learning are discouraged in favor of failure, resilience and innovation. The Children’s Business Fair, open to any child, is a natural outgrowth of this philosophy.

“It’s more about the journey,” Benson said. “Creating your own path in life, being courageous, and having a growth mindset, not just focusing on getting the ‘A’.”

Parents wanting to sign their kids up for the Children’s Business Fair have to undergo an application process that ensures their values align with the values of the competition—namely, that this is a student-centered activity, where kids are allowed and encouraged to make their own mistakes.

“This is not a place for a parent contest, where the businesses look perfect and they’re mostly completed by the parents. That’s not aligned at all with what we’re doing. This is celebrating imperfect progress,” Benson added.

Learn More about Acton Academy and the Children’s Business Fair

This Tuesday, Acton Academy is hosting Acton Discovery Night. The event offers parents a view of what it means to be a learner-driven community, and to hear stories of student transformation. Interested parents can learn more about the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1511729898966047/.

 

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