Emma and Hannah were engaging with customers in front of their small business Emeraude Spa. The pair were selling body scrubs made with brown sugar, olive oil and essential oils. Sawyer Helmer photo
Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
RUSSELL – Students at École Élémentaire Catholique Saint-Joseph in Russell got to experience what it is like to be small business owners on Thurs., May 10. The CSDCEO initiative Les Petits Entrepreneurs has been an annual project for the last three years. This year at Saint-Joseph was their second year to be involved.
Students from Grade 3 to Grade 6 worked with their parents to buy, make and create products for the student’s business. They also had to create a business name, logo, store front design and record all of their costs.
On May 10, the students gathered together for a market style event for the community to stop in and shop around. Grade 5 teacher Renée Caouette, of the project’s organizing committee, said the students worked for weeks on their projects. “They had to be creative, really think about a product that would sell and there needed to be a demand,” said Caouette.
Projects ranged from food, soaps, plants to games, all of which meant students had to be organized, creative and outgoing. “It is a great experience for them to learn people skills like how to approach a client. If you are just sitting there not talking, it doesn’t work. You have to stand beside your table and engage with customers,” said Caouette.
Following the evening event, students returned to their classrooms in the days after to evaluate if they made a profit, broke even or lost money. Once they have paid their parents back for the initial cost, simulating business loans and costs, the students could keep whatever profit they made. Many of them, Caouette said, donate their profits to a special cause or to CHEO.
The school was packed with patrons ready to buy products and encourage the young minds. Teachers from each grade were happy to participate and help out. As for les petits entrepreneurs, Caouette said she hopes they can realize the many options available in the future. “If nothing else, it’s just to show them that being your own boss is an option. It’s not for everybody to go to college or university and when you are your own boss, there are a lot of perks and flexibility with what works for you. It’s great for them to know that in life, this is possible,” she said.
Caouette told the Record in a follow up email, “We take great pride in this event since it touches so many spheres of learning. The students loved the experience and a lot of them made quite a bit of profit selling their products or having people play their game.”