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Greater Naples Chamber, Leadership Collier Foundation host 2022 Youth Business Fair

Greater Naples Chamber, Leadership Collier Foundation host 2022 Youth Business Fair

Venturing beyond the lemonade stand, young entrepreneurs got to showcase their products and services to the public at the Greater Naples Chamber’s third Youth Business Fair, on Saturday, March 26.

Hosted by the Greater Naples Chamber in partnership with Collier County Public Schools, this event gave students in kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to learn free-market principles and demonstrate the importance of how our workforce drives the local economy.

“Children should be introduced to stuff like this – it can become a hobby,” said Jared Whitehead [grade 9]. “It only takes a small idea to grow into something more.”

Many of the students know first-hand that their hard work can be rewarding. The 2022 Youth Business Fair was the second time Mei Wu [grade 6] participated in the event. She said the Youth Business Fair, formerly known as the Children’s Business Fair, helped her to show off her products “and brainstorm new ones to make.” This year, she worked with her business partner and cousin, Wendy, to develop new designs with their collection of sea shells.

The Youth Business Fair gives students the opportunity to learn the importance of soft skills and understand the value of communicating and marketing themselves, and their goods or services, professionally.

“Being here has helped us talk to strangers and share what we have been able to accomplish,” said Wendy Wu [grade 6].

“Don’t waste your time to shine, you can be successful if you put yourself out there,” said Mei Wu.

Business leaders know how swiftly the economy impacts our communities, and by investing support for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, this can ensure a vibrant future workforce.

But for these kids, their families have been their No. 1 supporters.

“We always liked to do crafts and make bracelets and we decided to turn it into a business,” said Emily Mazurowski [grade 6]. “With the help of our parents, we started selling in our neighborhood going door to door, and my mom found out about the Youth Business Fair, so we took the chance to come out and sell.”

John Disser [grade 7] began John’s Woodworking Company after Hurricane Irma by collecting damaged wood and his findings into custom candle holders. He has since expanded on his original idea, with help from his dad, and said practice, time and advertising has helped him to create more unique products. It’s also helped him hone in on what he wants to do once he gets a little bit older.

“For me, I can definitely day I am going to be a carpenter when I grow up,” he said.
The Youth Business Fair is a starting point for Collier County students to create connections and use resources that aren’t necessarily available at their age, and by prioritizing our community’s future leaders, the Chamber strives in showcasing kids’ entrepreneurial spirits through their business ideas.

Participants had the chance to win prizes in various categories for their products, business models and marketing strategies:

Most Original Business – Kate Moran, Alice Talford & Tucker Payne
High Business Potential – John’s Woodworking Company [John Disser]
Most Creative - A Breath of Fresh Air [Tehya Miller]
3rd Place for Elementary – Tahvy Bezara
3rd Place for High School – James Lesage & Emily Sarjeant

2nd Place for Elementary – Trooper Duval
2nd Place for Middle School – John Disser
2nd Place for High School – Mary Rabe

1st Place for Elementary – Marcus Fowler
1st Place for Middle School – Tehya Miller
1st Place for High School – Shaddy Bonhomee, Isabel Perez-Rodriguez & Anthony Fronseca

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