Interview with Acton’s Children’s Business Fair Teenage Organizer & Competition Results
by Avantika NautiyalACTON:
The Acton Children's Business Fair was held on Sunday October 8 at Nara Park pavilion after rains forced organizers to reschedule it from the original date of October 7th. Fortunately, eighty of the registered 85 businesses, enthusiastic volunteers, and all the judges were able to accommodate this change. The weather echoed the electric energy of these young entrepreneurs by turning into a balmy bright afternoon.
This year's event was organized by a teenager, Ronit Mazumdar, with the support of many adult mentors and student volunteers.Avantika:
How long did it take to plan this event?Ronit:
I started planning this event back in February and reserved Nara Park in June. I handled all the marketing and registrations for this event. My friends volunteered their time to help with the organization and logistics of this herculean undertaking.Avantika:
What was the motivation behind this event?Ronit:
Six years ago, I was one of the participants in this event. I participated for a couple years until this fair was stopped during the pandemic. Last year, a high school student, along with the help of his Boy Scout Troop, restarted this program, and I helped him organize. This year, he is in college and so I took the lead to organize. The mission of the Children's Business Fair is to promote entrepreneurship in kids, which instills confidence and creativity from an early age. This kind of event helps in developing leadership ability, teaches us public skills and also the value of money. All these are life skills which unfortunately we don't learn as part of our standard school curriculum, so such events give us an opportunity to develop this. I have personally benefited from this and I would like to continue this and help other kids and also develop my own organizational and leadership skills.Avantika:
Speaking of support, I am curious about the involvement of our Town.Ronit:
Town Of Acton's Economic Development Director Ms. Julie Pierce invited us to a meeting to identify ways the Town could help support this event. She increased our space at Nara park and the time allocated for the fair. We also had to change the date due to the inclement weather and Ms. Pierce reserved the next day for us. She also got us connected with Ms. Karen Herther from AB PIP STEM who guided me as a mentor and gave many great ideas.
The judges had their work cut out as they meticulously reviewed the products, booth display, business model, and novelty of the participants.The youngest participants were five years old! One seven-year-old shared his documented pricing model and marketing strategy, one had reusable cotton totes while another had made her own slime. Many had chosen to donate a percentage of their profits to a charitable cause they related to. There were an impressive number of businesses that encouraged community building and social interactions by offering do-it-yourself (DIY) kits and/or make-your-own options.
After the event, Avantika reached out to Ronit to identify how the residents can help improve the experience and/or increase the participation in the following years.Ronit:
I feel this event should be encouraged by the schools. As a student, we do a lot of creative art in school and we learn a lot of skills but we never get an opportunity to showcase our work. Events like this give us an opportunity to do so. I have always heard many of my friends say they hate math, but they all love money. You need math to make money, at least basic math. Selling a product can be done by interacting with customers, a skill which is always useful.
We had issues with parking. So I think for next year, we would like to request the help of the Town to see if they can offer shuttle service which will help with parking.
I would also like to see local businesses getting involved and help mentor these young entrepreneurs. I remember that in 2019 the store Periwinkle Glassworks had offered that a couple of young entrepreneurs could showcase their products in their store. Something like this is helpful for the young entrepreneurs to be engaged throughout the year and not just be a day event.The winners from the event in each of four categories were as follows:Highest Business Potential:
Sugar and Spice
They offer allergen aware baked goods and treats (free from peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and dairy). Judges shared that this business has consistently participated in the Children’s Business Fair and showed year over year growth in sales as well as their offerings.Most Original Business:
Halo Halo Colors
This business is recycling crayons and giving them a new life for others to enjoy. They impressed judges with their mission driven and sustainable business plan.Best Presentation:
They offer unique and realistic looking candles shaped as ducks, food, dessert and fruit. Their idea was completely unique from the rest of the candle businesses at the fair. The quality and craftsmanship of their highly detailed candles made them look like the real item.Judges Choice:
Advhik creates artwork inspired by Indian folk arts, usually pencil art based on animals or cartoons. Judges were highly impressed by the entrepreneurship and conceptualization of this 7 year old.
If readers would like to get involved in the 2024 Children’s Business Fair, they should visit www.childrensbusinessfair.org/
around June 2024.Avantika Nautiyal is an Indian chef and the owner of All Things Spiced in Acton.