By JESSE GAULT
On Thursday afternoons at the East Lynn Farmers’ Market, children can operate their own booth selling their goods from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“They’re learning how to sell,” said Clifton Corbin, organizer of the Kidpreneur Program at the market. “They’re learning how to negotiate. They’re learning how to be salespeople. They’re learning how to use their different skill sets to sell a product. They’re seeing that there is some competition … They’re absolutely learning how to be little entrepreneurs.”
Parents have been just as enthusiastic about the program at the East Lynn Farmers’ Market as the kids taking part.
“It’s been rewarding on all fronts for the parents. They’re seeing how excited the kids are to actually perform, how they are actually able to build little businesses,” said Corbin of the program.
The Kidpreneur Program at East Lynn was inspired by a similar one at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market which is run by volunteer and teacher Ellen Goodman.
Corbin, a father as well as a “financial literacy and pay equity advocate,” set up the East Lynn program with Goodman’s support.
Along with teaching the youngsters business skills, the program is also a chance for the children to just have some fun.
“They are having a blast. It’s been so overwhelming. It’s been great,” said Corbin. “So they’ve been enjoying themselves obviously.”
The program is not just a positive and useful experience for the children to build on as some of them are already experiencing business success at the market.
“Each one of them has a little company as far as what they’re doing at the market. They’re learning what it means to be a business owner,” said Corbin.
Along with being fun, the participants are also learning about the challenges to deal with and the commitment needed to run a small business.
“Some of the kids are realizing how much work it is now,” said Corbin.
To be part of the program, the participants must also donate a portion of the money they make at the market to a charity of their own choice. Some of the donations are going to World Vision and the Hospital for Sick for Children.
So far, this year the Kidpreneurs have run 14 businesses at East Lynn Farmers’ Market and raised more than $300 for their charities.
Some of the products children have sold at their booths include baked goods, art work (including cartoons), and golf balls.
“For me, as someone whose been a financial literacy advocate for so long, being able to support kids as they learn how to create products and sell products has just been super rewarding and fulfilling for me,” said Corbin.
The East Lynn Farmers’ Market takes place Thursdays, between 3 and 7 p.m. at East Lynn Park which is located south of Danforth Avenue just west of Woodbine Avenue. The market will be running in the park until October.
For info on the East Lynn Farmers’ Market, please go to https://deca.to/market/