I attended a networking event in Howard County, MD, where I met Terri, the Director of Membership with the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. I shared about what I do and, through our conversation, we both knew that we had just made more than a business acquaintance at that moment, we had made a friend.
Shortly after that meetup, an inspiring woman walked into the Chamber and asked Terri if she had any recommendations for a speaker for an upcoming event. Dr. Marlene Jackson is the founder and CEO of Le Chic Academy Foundation’s Biz Kidz Academy, a Christian-focused, non-profit organization devoted to empowering young “kidpreneurs.” Terri knew exactly who to suggest. She connected me to Dr. Jackson and I was hooked.
Dr. Jackson Develops Leaders
Dr. Jackson’s mission is to inspire business-minded kids to creatively embrace their entrepreneurial spirit, lead confidently, think critically, and be financially responsible. That aligns well with my vision and values, so when she invited me to lead a workshop on kids and money at her first Biz Kidz Market Day/Shark Tank Competition in 2016, I really wanted to do it. There were some obstacles in the way, though. My schedule was full, the event was two hours away, and it was on a Saturday. I loved Dr. Jackson instantly, so I reluctantly agreed.
The night before the event, I found myself wondering why I ever agreed to give up a whole day for this event. Has that ever happened to you? You’re excited about something in the moment, but as it approaches you have second thoughts? That’s what happened to me. I value integrity, so I would never go back on my word. Instead, I begged my husband to come with me and keep me company on the long ride. He (reluctantly) agreed.
Side story: I affectionately refer to my husband as “The Capt’n” because he has a steady, safe approach to life. He is always looking out for our family, and I’ve learned he is a great “Capt’n” of the ship. I need him in my life!
We Can Make a Difference
What I discovered when I got there was beyond my imagination.
About thirty students (ages 5-18) had come up with impressive unique businesses and were selling their goods at the market.
- One boy was selling sneakers
- Another boy was selling ties he designed and printed
- A little girl was selling homemade doggie treats
- Some girls were marketing decadent cupcakes
- A child was making and selling snow cones
- Another child was making and selling a tofu treat
- Five-year-old Tyler had written a book with the help of his mom. He was in his superhero costume, selling and signing his beautifully illustrated hardback book.
- Another boy had written two books about his heroes: firefighters and police officers. He sent his books to President Obama, who invited him to the White House. Yes, I said the WHITE HOUSE!
The ideas were boundless, and I HAD NO CASH on me!
Enter the Capt’n. There was a reason I brought him with me. While I was leading my workshop, Capt’n was looking for an ATM to dispense money so that we could support these amazing kids. He came back with a wad of cash, and it blessed our hearts to go from stand-to-stand supporting these amazing children.
Enthralled with the difference Dr. Jackson was making with kids in the community, both Capt’n and I wanted to be a bigger part of it. All of my regrets for saying “yes” to speaking at that event were shamefully put to rest and replaced with overwhelming excitement for how we could get involved even more. Ever since that day, we have been supporting Kidz Biz Academy either with time or our finances. An investment in Kidz Biz truly is an investment in our future, as Dr. Jackson develops our future leaders.
The Next Biz Kids Market Day & Shark Tank
Check Back for 2019 Dates
Biz Kidz Academy is currently calling kidpreneurs (Ages 5-18) to register for the competition. Young entrepreneurs will make money by selling their creative products. They will also compete to win laptops, prizes, and awards by pitching their business ideas.
Family, friends, and the community are invited to come out to support the kidpreneurs and enjoy vendor exhibits (I promise you will be impressed, so don’t forget to bring CASH), workshops, entertainment, games, contests, awards, refreshments, and so much fun.
When you do business with me a percentage of my profits will go to support Biz Kidz, and future leaders in America.
**This is an annual event, so if you are reading this and it is after the time has passed, please reach out to my team and we will give you future dates for this event as we have them.