The first ever Omaha Children’s Business Fair held in October at Kaneko downtown was a huge success. With 48 booths, 89 participants and roughly 500 people in attendance, more than $5,000 was earned by the young entrepreneurs. The Blue Pomegranate Gallery was also able to raise more than $1,200 in the Great Pumpkin auction to support the fair.
Rachel Benson, lead chairperson of Omaha Acton Children’s Business Fair and founder of Acton Academy is very pleased with the results of the first children’s business fair in Omaha. “I saw a need in our community for these budding entrepreneurs to connect and grow on purpose in that mindset,” she said. “The Children’s Business Fair is an ongoing experience that will be more focus and growth-based rather than achievement based. This ecosystem has already been successful in connecting these business owners with other resources in their community.”
There were four categories from ages 5-17 that were judged during the fair. Each age group was judged on the same three criteria: The Best Presentation & Creativity, Most Original Business Idea, and Highest Business Potential. The judges, also called “Chief Encouragers” were all active members in the community who are equally passionate about growing its youth.
The Pierce brothers participated in the event, promoting their brand “J Bros Clothing and Design.” Jayce, age 4, Judah, age 6, and older brother Jericho, age 7, joined forces for their business venture. Not only did they have fun, but they won first place in the 5-7 age category for Highest Business Potential. “I enjoyed making the shirts to sell,” Jericho said. Jayce was a bit more candid, adding, “My favorite part was making lots of money.”
The event started with a bit of inspiration from local influencers, including former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch. The participants were inspired and mentored by many volunteers. As an ice breakers and energy booster prior to the show’s opening, members were all provided with Children’s Fair bucks to spend and support the youth businesses.
“There are relationships and business opportunities that are skyrocketing from this event,” Benson said. “For 2019 we’re already hoping to create two events, one in the spring and one in the fall, but also have times together between events to really help these entrepreneurs with their success and overall development.”
See table for a complete list of winners in each category.