Business is child’s play at second-annual Clovis event

Kids Business Fair

Children aged five to 17 took part in the first children’s business fair in 2021. The event will take place again this year.

published on September 22, 2022 – 1:25 p.m
Written by Frank Lopez

The Made in Clovis Marketplace and Fair will host the second edition of the Children’s Business Fair on September 24-25, giving Valley children the opportunity to learn business practices through hands-on experience.

It comes after a successful opening event last year where around 50 children sold everything from succulents to homemade jewellery.

The Children’s Business Fair was first introduced to the valley by local entrepreneur and mother Mykel Suntrapak and aims to help change the way young people learn about business practices.

Originally founded in 2007 in Acton, Texas, the program has now gained worldwide recognition, with business shows in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as the United Kingdom, Romania, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

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“I found this part of their program to be right for me — I’m an entrepreneur — and I really believe in what they believe about all the education and skills that you can get through this program,” she said, explaining that she originally She researched the program when she was looking for educational tools to use with her son. “Being able to do it practically with his peers made this training so much richer.”

This year, at a workshop event for new and returning attendees, the young entrepreneurs met with experts from Clovis marketing firm Top Hand Media and Noble Credit Union, and received a motivational keynote from local speaker Mia Natalia, who experienced a lifelong change in her spine injury year 2017.

“I wanted kids to see how they can build resilience and get inspired and stay motivated,” Suntrapak said.

With a registration fee of just $20, kids can learn with minimal investment cost. Suntrapak said the $20 includes tables, bedding and chairs for the day and teaches the kids that businesses need upfront investment.

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Registration for the event opened at the end of June.

“I want them to have a buy-in,” Suntrapak said. “As with everything else, there is an investment for every business; It’s very minimal, but I want them to have an investment.”

Parents are encouraged to participate in supportive roles and allow children to take responsibility.

“We want the kids to do the work, but we also know that a lot of those kids are five or six years old,” said Shawn Miller, business development manager for the city of Clovis. “The older the kids get, the more we appreciate it when it’s just the kids working on it and the parents stepping back a bit.”

Suntrapak added that parents’ primary responsibility is to support their children and encourage parents to “cheer on” them, but allow children to make the most important choices and decisions.

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Aside from the booths at the ClovisFest, Suntrapak hopes other fairs in the Fresno and Clovis area can host the kids and booths, adding that last year several of the kids who attended were also able to host booths at the Clovis Farmers’ Market.

But the main focus of the event is on education – teaching children the basics of running a business, from initial investment to the finished product.

“Some of these kids are very young, too,” Miller said. “Five-year-old children up to 16 or 17 years.”

The event is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital, Clovis Chamber of Commerce, Me-n-Ed’s, City of Clovis, Inspiration Transportation, Four Seas Construction, Reading Heart, Central California Parent and the Libertarian Committee.

The Children’s Business Fair and Made in Clovis both take place during ClovisFest on September 24th and 25th.

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