Being business owners and part of the local entrepreneur community has given me a passion for helping others flourish in their business ventures. Especially when it comes to young people creating their own business opportunities.
Scott and I are lucky to be part of a great networking group called TRBN (Think Referrals Business Network). One of the unique features of TRBN is fundraising throughout the year to help local families at Christmas. The more we raise, the more families we can support with food and gifts they couldn’t otherwise afford.
Our local chapter has hosted the Fort Langley Christmas Marketplace to raise funds each year. Local crafters and artisans come together to showcase their talents and wares. I have had the pleasure of organizing this event the last few years and I’m very proud of how popular it has become. This year, we were able to raise enough to support 12 families for Christmas through the Nov. 19 market.
Some vendors create their masterpieces in their spare time while others craft and create full-time. The common thread is they all love what they do and at TRBN we love supporting them. I only wish I had more space at our venue to bring more vendors in.
Like most marketplaces, we charge a fee to vendors. The difference is that 100% of that fee goes towards our Christmas family fundraising. Obviously we don’t give spots out without the fee – it is a fundraiser after all – but last year a unique situation came up. A new vendor asked to be included but couldn’t afford the fee. As the discussion continued, I learned this was a grade nine student just starting her business. That was why she couldn’t pay. She hoped she could afford it the following year if her sales were strong enough.
I was very impressed! I’d never had a teenage vendor at our show and here was a great opportunity – to witness a kid starting her own business and sharing that with others at the marketplace. Mikayla Castle came up with her own ideas and followed through on them and I wasn’t about to let her miss this opportunity – her first craft show – because she couldn’t afford the fee.
We need to support young entrepreneurs like Mikayla. It’s about giving them the chance to take that next step, back them up and help pave a path for them. I immediately contacted our TRBN group and the response was unanimous. We decided to sponsor Mikayla.
The event was a huge success for her, and she had a great response from the customers at the show. All of us at TRBN were so proud of her. She had our support, as well as the wonderful and loving support of her family. My own daughter was a big fan of several of Mikayla’s products, especially her ornaments!
It was pretty obvious we would continue with a student sponsorship the following year. This year, students Genevieve Giran and Carly Bardeck were interested in showcasing at the marketplace and even came to a TRBN meeting to show us what they were putting together.
At this year’s show, Genevieve and Carly set up their wonderful hand-crafted bath bombs and were quite a hit. To illustrate the success of supporting young entrepreneurs, we had Genevieve and Carly at the show along with Mikayla as a regular vendor. Mikayla had a great 2017 because being in our event in 2016 allowed her to kick start her business. She did 8 shows in 2017 and is doing great.
I wish Mikayla continued success, as well as Genevieve and Carly! Keep it up girls, I also want to thank their parents as I know they have been a huge support to them too.
Give them Wings and Help them Fly!