The Young Millionaires program is offered Island wide by five regional service agencies, and has operated since 1991. The program teaches basic business skills to youth ages eight to 16 and helps them start a business of their own over the summer months.
They develop basic business skills such as record keeping, customer service, public speaking, and life skills. Participants attend workshops on marketing, customer service, accounting and basic business planning. Participants submit a business plan that outlines their business, ideas, goals and a request for funding of up to $150 towards start-up costs.
“This year, more than 200 students enrolled in the program across the Island, and they started 145 new businesses,” says Karen Duffy, Coordinator of the program.
“I see students come into the program shy and leave much more confident. It’s easy to measure the success of each business based on profit and growth, but it is far more important to see the value of the program in terms of business education and confidence building.”
Some of the students’ presentations at St. Peter’s Business Complex
Tanner Ansems is 11 years old and in grade six and his brother Nicolas is nine years old and is in grade four. They both attend French Immersion at Montague Consolidated School. Their business is called Secret Treats.
“My brother and I pretty much do everything together, so when the Young Millionaires Program was offered at our school, we decided to sign up,” says Tanner. “It sounded really fun and it didn’t hurt to know we could make money.”
“We decided to make candy for kids and dog treats for dogs,” adds Nicolas. “The next thing was to decide on a business name. This was probably the hardest part because we wanted to have a name that was catchy.”
“We also made keepsake Minions. They were made out of paper towel rolls and you could take their head off and put secret things in it,” adds Tanner. “We learned a lot about starting a business, about how to keep track of money to buy supplies and the money we got from sales,” says Nicolas. “We met a lot of people and we had lot of fun.”
They plan to continue making and selling their products because of the popularity of their sales.
Ella Burke, 10, and Taylor Gallant, 11, attend Souris Regional School. They are best friends and opened a summer business called The Garden Girls.
“I was so excited when I heard about the Young Millionaires Program at school,” says Ella. “Taylor and I convinced our moms we could run our own business.
“I decided to paint lady bug rocks and make garden mushrooms and sun catchers from repurposed glass vases and bowls. I staged the booth with flowers and driftwood to attract customers. My lady bug rocks were definitely the most popular.
“It was a good experience, and I soon realized how much work it is to run your own business. Anyone can do it if you work hard enough. I am using the money I made to pay for riding lessons.”
“I want to do this again next year,” says Taylor. “It was a great experience, and it helped me to be better at math and at saving money. I learned how to talk with customers and answer their questions.”
Ella plans to become a veterinarian, caring for animals. Taylor plans to become an animal advocate and own and operate an animal shelter.
The program was hosted by the Rural Action Centre in Montague. Visit www.ruralactioncentres.ca.
For more information about the Young Millionaires Program, visit www.youngmillionairesprogram.ca.
Funded through ACOA and Innovation PEI and sponsored by the Rural Action Centre.