Brevards Youngest Entrepreneurial Spirits
A group of Brevard County entrepreneurs converged to sell their wares on a windy Saturday in March. They baked, painted, folded, twisted, sketched and sewed creations to sell to patrons at The Avenue Viera. And they were all kids.
The youngest members of the Space Coast’s business community who gathered at the inaugural Brevard Children’s Business Fair — we’re talking as young as 6 years old — are a sure sign the future is bright. That was the driving force behind the local event, part of a franchise founded in Texas.
“Everyone has been really impressed with the kids,” said organizer Nora McFarland, of Merritt Island. She said after her own kids, Abigail, 8, and Aron, 6, showed entrepreneurial spirit, her research led her to the franchise’s unique concept and infrastructure.
“If my kids are interested, there have to be other people interested, too,” she said about wanting to bring the fair to Brevard.
The McFarland kids had a booth called Chew on This, where they sold dog chew toys they made from recycled clothing.
“My dog (a doberman) always destroys everything in sight, so we wanted to make something durable,” Abigail said.
She said her business inspiration also was to raise enough money to purchase something nice for her family for Easter and donate a portion of her proceeds to the Brevard Humane Society. The siblings wound up delivering $40 and extra chew toys.
Another 6-year-old, Liam Johnson, of West Melbourne, had a beautiful display of paintings he made with his 7-year-old brother, Caleb. Part of the concept of the fair is for kids to do it all — set up their displays, pitch their wares and handle the purchase transactions.
“Mugs are just $7!” Liam said, proudly.
Mom, Heather Olson, said the boys enjoy creating together and it’s been wonderful for Caleb, who has special needs. “He gets in his little zone when he [paints], they love it.”
“There are some really amazing projects and a cool entrepreneurial spirit here,” said Erica Lemp, one of the event judges.
Lemp knows plenty about that spirit. As executive director for weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology, she’s normally helping Brevard women ignite their businesses. Nut this day, she had a chance to see the future. And pull out her wallet. We met her on her way to the ATM to get more cash so she could buy more of the event wares.
“These kids were inspired by something and they’re turning it into something greater. It’s cool to see the kids own it,” she said.
Three awards were given out, one to Ava Rhoads, 14, of Rockledge. Her business, Junky to Funky, won Best Presentation/Creativity for her recycled wood artistic signs. She said she wanted a wooden sign she saw at a store but it was expensive.
“My dad said, ‘You can make one yourself,’” Ava said. So she did. She’s using wood from the floors in her home, built in the 1800s, and furniture.
“I’m blown away at the talent of these kids,” said Ava’s mother, Kelly Rhoads. “(Ava) is doing everything herself, she’s such a go-getter. She’s learned a lot along the way.”
Luca Pinto, 9, of Viera was popular. His birthday cake cookies were a hot seller.
“I love your business,” a patron commented as she handed over cash for cookies and homemade bread.
“When I don’t have anything to do, I just bake,” Luca said. And this day, that passion was turning into income.
Nora McFarland said she hopes more sponsors come on board so that the event can continue annually, or even more frequently. The Avenue Viera and Florida Virtual School jumped on board as first-year sponsors, recognizing the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs.
2018 Brevard Children’s Business Fair Awards
Most Original Business Idea: White Tiger Comics
Highest Business Potential: Crafting Education Academy
Best Presentation/Creativity: Junky to Funky
To learn more: https://www.brevardcbf.com
As Featured in our DIGITAL MAGAZINE.