Young entrepreneurs took over The Bay Centre concourse Saturday for Kidovate Victoria 2019. Youngsters – 30 of them aged 10 to 16 – sold a variety of handcrafted items such as animal stuffies, jewelry, greeting cards, plants, bath bombs, soap, cookies, snow cones and more.
“I was blown away by the creativity and quality of the product,” says Brock Smith, area champion for entrepreneurship at University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. “These young entrepreneurs engaged with Bay Centre customers, articulately explained their value proposition, and made sales.”
Smith was especially impressed by the young man selling snow cones and slushies. “He delivered an assumptive close like a seasoned sales person – he asked everyone who walked by what flavour they liked – and with a $1 price point and a charming smile, few could resist trying one.”
Kidovate is an initiative of UVic’s Gustavson School of Business that aims to develop entrepreneurial skill at an early age.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship is the economic engine of our economy,” Smith said. “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 There has been little focus on entrepreneurship. 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 is where Kidovate comes in. Kidovate is a fun, free, youth entrepreneurship experience that encourages and helps youth become entrepreneurs and learn by doing.”
Saturday’s Kidovate market was a pilot project for an event Smith hopes will be an annual activity.
Kidovate participant Eden Lochhart hand-made stuffed animals, which were a big hit with younger customers and grandparents looking for gifts. “I loved Kidovate so much,” she said. “Everyone was super nice and helpful. Overall it was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it next year. I would say to anyone who has heard of this to do it.”
The Kidovate initiative was developed by the Gustavson School of Business to fill a need in entrepreneurship education. “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.”
Learn more about Kidovate and be informed about next year’s event by registering at www.kidovate.ca.