The keen business sense of students at Upper Miramichi Elementary School was on full display May 8 during a busy marketplace hosted by budding entrepreneurs.
Students in Grades 4-5 were the proprietors of over 30 booths selling their merchandise to fellow students, staff, parents and members of the community. Innovative, handmade items of all kinds adorned the display tables such as picture frames, paintings, tape art, tie-dyed clothing, sun catchers, stress balls, fidgets, bird feeders, dog treats, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, bean bags, string art, fancy pencil holders, newly branded bottled water, bookmarks, scrunchies, slime, wacky pencils, hand painted flower pots, magnets, fairy doors, wooden hangers, seashells in a bottle, bubbles and colourful bracelets.
The one-day marketplace was held as part of PowerPlay, an educational program focused on experiential learning to help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Students must develop a product and business plan, set goals, conduct their market research, marketing and branding exercises, do a cost analysis, gather tools and materials, and launch their products for sale at a final showcase.
"It's a phenomenal experience for students," said teacher Katherine Loughrey. "They get to run a business and learn about math and problem-solving, listening, speaking, communication, competence, teamwork and giving back to the community. There is also so much buy-in from parents in supporting the projects. It's a wonderful community event. By the time the students get here (at the marketplace), they are real business people. It opens their eyes to becoming entrepreneurs."
This is the second year for the entrepreneurial market at Upper Miramichi Elementary. Last year's event sold out with some students earning $250 dollars in sales before expenses. For the May 8th event, each student had selected a charity to donate a portion of their proceeds. Many were beaming with pride, while setting up their displays, talking about their products and making change with their customers.
With lots to choose from, business remained brisk throughout the day. Student entrepreneurs were quickly racking up sales as customers from younger grades browsed the booths and smiled with excitement, enjoying perhaps their first experience of selecting and paying for their purchases all on their own. Meanwile, parents, families, staff and community members were arriving to do their shopping.
"You set expectations for the kids and they live up to them," said Neil McKenna, a grandparent visiting the marketplace. "It's really quite involved for what they they have to do."
Shown in the photos below at their booths are (1) Charlee Hillier, Grade 5, Emma Warren, Grade 4, Logan Deyoung, Grade 5, Ashlee Coughlan, Grade 5, and Silas Munn, Grade 5.