High school hosts afterschool program to inspire young entrepreneurs

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pederesenby Ashley Janes

Morinville – Beginning Oct. 7, Benita Pedersen, Business Analyst and Project Coordinator with Community Futures Tawatinaw Region (CFTR), will be running a seven-week program called BizKids, taking place each Tuesday from 3:15 p.m. until 5:15 p.m. at the Morinville Community High School (MCHS).

“BizKids is teaching and inspiring youth to consider the concept of working for themselves,” Pedersen said. “It’s expanding their belief in themselves, to have a realization that could do it. There may be kids that walk into that class that never even considered they could be self-employed and maybe by the end they will realize they can do it.”

This is the second year that MCHS has hosted the program. The classes combine education and inspiration in a weekly interactive session, followed by ongoing mentorship once the program is complete.

Beyond the expert advice, participants are eligible for a $300 loan through CFTR. Although the federally mandated program is not able to enter into a financial contract with a minor in the same way they would with adults, they can lend to youth participants in BizKids through a fund made up of donations from entrepreneurs, organizations and municipalities who believe in the program.

“It’s a free program,” Pedersen emphasised. “Virtually any kid can sign up. We are seeking, basically, kids from 13 through to the age of 18 as our students. Last year we had it for senior high. This year we want to open it up.”

Pedersen explained that the program would teach students about starting a business, identifying their target market, and marketing the business as well as themselves. They will also cover how personal behaviour can affect business, the ins and outs of customer service, and the all-important number crunching.

“They’ll be some emphasis on using credit responsibly and carefully, and we’ll be doing some demonstrations on how much credit can really cost you,” she continued. “We’ll touch a bit on bookkeeping and how having a positive attitude can over come challenges.”

By the end of the program, Pedersen said, each student will be able to write up a business plan, outlining their business and how they plan to run it. Then those plans will be showcased in what she is calling a pitch party, a Dragon’s Den-style event where students can present their plan to a panel of judges who will determine if their business qualifies for the $300 start-up loan.

Registration forms for BizKids will be available through MCHS Student Services. For more information on the CFTR’s program, contact Benita Pedersen at 780-349-2903 or visit Tawatinaw.albertacf.com.

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