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South Valley Journal

Riverton Friday Fun Night features Children Entrepreneur Market

Sep 04, 2022 11:15AM ● By Dylan Wilcox

By Dylan Wilcox | [email protected]

Community members enjoyed live music, food trucks and vendors from surrounding communities for Riverton’s Friday Fun Night held at Riverton City Park on Friday, Aug. 5. A new addition to the Friday Fun Night is the Children’s Entrepreneur Market, complete with dozens of booths filled with arts and crafts, even food from tacos to cotton candy, all made by kids between the ages of 5 to 16.

“First started by an ambitious 9-year-old in 2016, our Children’s Entrepreneur Market encourages children to flex their entrepreneurial muscles by providing a supportive environment for them to learn.  We carefully select venues throughout the state that ensure a safe environment where budding business owners can practice selling within a marketplace run entirely by kids,” according to CEM’s website. “With market guidance, parents help their kids learn about budgeting, cost of goods, profit and pricing. Children proudly wear their entrepreneur T-shirt highlighting the sponsoring businesses that support the market, set up their displays and open for business!”

Lynée Fife, Director of the Children’s Entrepreneur Market, organizes the venues with each of the cities.  Children, with the help of their families, sign up for booths to sell at each venue.

“In 2017, the law was changed in Utah that does not require children to have a permit or a license to run a business,” Fife said. The market is an initiative of the Libertas Institute, a Libertarian policy think tank based in Lehi, Utah. When the Libertas Institute tried to ease legislative restrictions on business licenses, they effectively paved the way for the Children’s Entrepreneur Market to begin.

“And so, we started these markets to give [the kids] that first-hand experience on running a business and to gain all those skills that come with this experience,” Fife added. The idea, which was spurred on by young kids selling lemonade on the street corner during the summer months, formed into an organization that brings kids to different cities and the customers are brought to the kids. “Instead of a kid sitting on the sidewalk, trying to flag down cars, why don’t we bring them all together and bring [the kids] potential customers?” Fife said.

Fife and her team reach out to each of the cities then she pitches the idea to them, hoping they will be willing to host the market at city events as “a good compliment” to their festivities and to get the market more public exposure. “This is our very first time here in Riverton, but this is our fifth summer putting on these markets,” Fife said.

Sameep, an eighth grader, Naisha, a fifth grader, and Nabhya, a third grader, started their own Nepalese food booth called “Tasty Momo” which features Nepalese steamed chicken dumpling plates. This is their third event selling food, and so far, sales have been good.

“We had a hard time selling at our first market because it rained on us,” Sameep said. “But we sold out at our second market!” They admit it’s hard work, but it’s rewarding work to sell out of their product. As each plate sold, their family members beamed with joy, making sure the kids do all the selling and to help only when needed.

Sofia, a third grader from South Jordan, and her family sell embroidered letter and cartoon patches. Sofia said her idea of selling patches came because “my friends like these patches a lot. And I thought, ‘Hey! If my friends like these so much, I can sell them!’ And they’re a lot of fun to make,” she said. This entrepreneurial spirit was felt with each booth that was completely set up and run by the kids.

Parents hung out in the back of the 10’x10’ tent as the kids did the upselling, the inventory, the customer service, and the accounting of their registers. Some booths even accepted payment through Venmo.

ORyann Breen, a sixth grader from West Jordan, runs ORyann’s Bracelet Boutique, which sells rubber band and bead bracelets, all hand made. Breen said she started making bracelets this year and decided to join the market as a way to sell them.

La Boulangerie Francaise sold crepes and other French-inspired baked goods to the delight of customers. There was even a booth that sold dog treats – K-9 Cookies.

Fife shared that all the spots for each venue have been booked, meaning that the young business owners and their families vie for a spot to sell at each of the markets. In total, the CEM holds 27 different events, from as far north as Logan to Herriman in the south, even out west to Stansbury Park in Tooele.

“We want every entrepreneur to try this. We want the kids to see each other’s business, too, just to see what is selling and what isn’t, the operation and the set-up. So, it’s very inspiring for the kids to see other kids and what they’re selling,” Fife said. The process is relatively easy, no business proposals necessarily need to be submitted, but the market organizers do want to see how the kids would sell their product and how they plan to keep track of expenses.

All 75+ kids and their families were able to sell their products with the roughly 200 or so customers that came through the event. For more information about the Children’s Entrepreneur Market, visit their website at childrensentrepreneurmarket.com/.

The Friday Fun Night also hosted several food trucks, other craft vendors, live music by Trenton McKean, and a movie on the lawn showing Disney’s “Encanto.”