The first Raleigh Children’s Business Fair will be held on September 10, from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., at The Commons at North Hills. The John William Pope Foundation is organizing the event with the help of local business sponsors. During the one-day market, participating entrepreneurs sell their products with the goal of turning a profit.  Community members are the customers, and independent judges lend their time to ultimately award a winning entrepreneur with a cash prize.

Where did the idea originate? 

In 2007, entrepreneur and Acton School of Business Founder Jeff Sandefer and his wife Laura wanted to create a special event that would spark a sense of wonder and entrepreneurship for children in their community. The first year the Fair was held in Austin, Texas with seven entrepreneurs and 25 customers. The Fair became an annual tradition in Texas and now regularly seeks over 115 entrepreneurs and 1,400 customers. Jeff and Laura began telling others about the Children’s Business Fair and it sparked interest in cities across the country. Friends and passionate parents/entrepreneurs/community members began creating their own fairs. This year Fairs are slated for Illinois, Florida, California, Idaho, Michigan, Arizona, and Washington, D.C., among others.

Why should children participate?

We think Jeff Sandefer explained it best in his short guide to youth entrepreneurship entitled “Three Magic Seeds: Discovering the Entrepreneurial Spirit.”

“Three simple, but magic entrepreneurial seeds: making something with your own hands; selling it (safely) to someone you do not know; and experiencing the power and responsibility of a little hard-earned spending money in your pocket. These are the lessons that teach a love for the game of business, and of life, that can’t be easily extinguished by materialism or tyrants….Practiced again and again, these three lessons will encourage the habits of creative work, self reliance and respect for others that ultimately lead to a life well lived.”