It’s one thing to make your own innovative products, but nothing quite compares to being able to sell them to satisfied customers at a bustling shopping mall.
Port Elizabeth’s youngest businessmen and women – the Grade 1 to 9s who have enrolled for the city’s Young Entrepreneur (YE) classes – got a taste for sales during their market day at Walmer Park on Saturday (June 24), the annual highlight in the YE calendar.
“I enjoyed seeing what I could do to sell my products,” said home-schooled Teresa Dupper, 10, who made pink and purple wind charms. “I called out my prices, and then made them a bit lower … I enjoyed seeing so many kids coming to buy.” She’s hoping to use her entrepreneurial skills to one day open a babies’ home, with a hair salon attached to fund the home.
Nicolaus Stewart, 9, who is also home-schooled, said he had “enjoyed it a lot but it’s been tiring … you have to wait a long time for your customers to come”. Stewart, who was selling door handle signs, hopes to one day be a “bird man”, selling parrots and love birds.
“I liked it when I could buy stuff,” said eight-year-old Pascale Malherbe, from Collegiate, who was selling hair clips and brooches.
The three were a part of a group of 65 children from an array of schools across the Bay, who set up stalls – complete with business cards, business registration certificates and customer feedback forms – at the cinema entrance of the mall.
Also part of the group were 15 children from Charles Duna Primary in New Brighton, who have attended the YE course as part of YE’s sponsored outreach programme.
“I liked it when people liked my things, said Charles Duna’s Chuma Twana, 8, who sold gift bags. His classmate Sinazo Ramncwana, 9, who was selling book covers, said: “It was fun. When people asked me what I was selling, that was the best part.”
Summerwood Primary’s Devon Moore, 11, grabbed shoppers’ attention with her enticing green-and- orange bunnies-and-petals display, with each toy bunny “wearing” the charm bracelets she had made. “I most enjoyed decorating the table!”
“I think I’ll be an entrepreneur one day,” said Damien Singleton, 10, from Summerwood Primary, who was also selling door handle signs.
“I want to own a lot of different businesses,” said Brylin’s Lethu Soka, 12, who was selling leather bracelets.
“I enjoyed the selling and I’ve made lots of money,” said Mount Pleasant Primary’s Joshua Rautenbach, 7, who made placemats, and hopes one day to be a fisherman.
YE facilitator Monita Bester, who has been teaching the course material since February, when the national franchise was first introduced to the city, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the kids selling their products. They build so much self-confidence knowing they can sell something that they made themselves. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids.”
Ansulene Prinsloo, who owns the Port Elizabeth franchise, said the YE courses were giving children the practical knowledge and experience to run their own businesses. “They don’t have to wait till they finish school.”
She said entrepreneurial skills were key in a country like South Africa, where jobs were scarce, even for university graduates.
The YE courses also teach participants how to manage their money, with a strong focus on saving, spending, sharing and investing.
“All children should be equipped with the skills to run their own businesses, and manage their own finances – skills that are typically not taught at school.”