Young Black Entrepreneurs win Best in Presentation
Acton Academy Omaha hosted a Children’s Business Fair at KANEKO on May 11, as a way to encourage and support young people in entrepreneurial development. The expo had 80 vendors, ages 5 to 16, all exhibiting products alongside their own marketing, brand story, and business plan. NOISEmaker Ashley Salem attended with her son and spoke to founders of K.M. Relievers, Kameron and Mathews, who were the winners of the Best in Presentation/Creativity category in the 11-12 age group.
Reflection by Ashley Salem:
A couple weekends ago, I was invited to attend an entrepreneurship fair, but get this, it was for kids! My eyebrows raised and my interest was sparked as I thought back to my grade school days. I remember rows of folding poster boards set up on tables and how excited my classmates and I were to present our projects to our parents and friends. Would this event be a similar experience for these children?
Not knowing what to expect, when my son and I walked in we were immediately embraced with colors, laughter and kids presenting with maturity. I exchanged cash for tokens so my son could purchase items that were for sale in the many booths lining the KANEKO center. I spoke with some of the parents and coordinators and found out that each business owner was to come up with a brand, marketing, and open their business for a one-day marketplace extravaganza.
I watched as my son approached different booths that caught his eye, and smiled as I heard the kids speak about their interests. After briefly getting to know each other, the young business owners told my son about their products or services.
Once we had our fill of handmade treats, and several purchases of slime, there was an award ceremony. As the children each went to receive their awards for categories, Most Original Business Idea, Best Presentation/Creativity, and Most Business Potential, I felt excited for this generation. There is so much at their fingertips and the world is truly theirs! With the right guidance and a clear vision, even as a child, they can have their own companies and really impact change.
Following the awards, I met two remarkable boys named Mathews and Kameron who are the owners of K.M. Relievers. Their mother, Latoya Thomas, smiled with pride along side of them because her smart entrepreneur sons had just won a trophy for Best Presentation and Creativity.
The duo have been preparing for the children's business fair for a year and developed products of a holistic nature, stress balls and sensory bombs. Along with their trophy, they also left with $107, a chance to go to the Collaboratory, and other opportunities to further their ideas and professionalism. Mathews spoke about their sensory bottles and described how their products aid in teaching children to self-regulate emotions and manage stress.
Kameron added that their stress balls are different than others you may find. Instead of the traditional way of simply filling small balloons with flour. Their products have little individual bags filled with flour, and then placed in hand-sized balloons. He also mentioned that some of the stress balls were filled with the latest kid obsession, Orbeez.
The two boys expressed the importance of being confident in your work and to keep doing what you do. Latoya chimed in and reminded her children of advice they had heard at the event. Advice that highlighted the autonomy of being your own boss. She said, “That as your own boss you can't get fired, you can be on your own time, and no one can take that away from you.”
Right before my eyes in a small corner of Omaha, Nebraska, I was able to see kids making an impact and learning about their capacity. When we encourage youth to love themselves and to do better than what was done in the past, we also encourage their creativity. We as parents, teachers, and their community, have the ability to give them the audacity to think BIG.