• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Young entrepreneurs sell their wares at 'Southside Mall'

The gymnasium was buzzing with activity during a fourth-grade Entrepreneur Fair at Southside Elementary School last Thursday, Dec. 8. Before they set up their shops in the Southside Mall, the fourth-grade students created their own businesses using what they learned about economics in their social studies classes. "They have to come up with a business plan so they have to decide what (product) they want to make and stick to it," said fourth-grade social studies teacher Sheri Logan. "And they have to come up with their expense sheet: How much is it going to cost them? Because they have to take a loan out with their parents and then figure out the pricing for their items to make enough money to pay back their loans." Local business woman Maria Bohanan, who co-owns Pretty in Pink in downtown Versailles, talked to the fourth-graders about what it takes to start a small business before last week's Entrepreneur Fair. Students also received free educational materials from Papa John's, which supports state standards for fourth-grade economics. Those materials were used to help teach the curriculum, Logan said. The booklets told Papa John's founder John Schnatter's story and included questions for students about having a plan, customer base and budget for a business. Two visiting representatives from Papa John's ad agency asked the Southside fourth-graders about how they came up with their products and if they enjoyed developing a business plan. "It's really interesting to see - even though they're in fourth grade - their outlook on how they see business and life from a child's perspective," said Mark Neu, a director of media. "And actually, (as an adult) you can learn a lot from that too . It also gets their mind thinking about 'What do I want to do when I grow up? Who do I want to be? Do I want to be this entrepreneur?'" All profits generated from the sale of products sold at the Southside Mall are being donated to the American Diabetes Association. Most of the dollars loaned by parents to their children for covering business start-up costs are also being donated to ADA, which has previously gotten support from the students, teachers and parents at Southside Elementary School. "So, we're showing our kids - not only what it would be like to be a business owner and go through the stages (of starting a small business), but what it's like to give back to the community," said Logan. She said urging students to become self-promoters of their products also gave them more confidence in dealing with customers: parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and other students.

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