It started because of a school assignment. Maiki Oreta, 29, a business news anchor on cable television, was looking for a way to teach her daughter Brielle, 6, about money. The best way Oreta thought of was through practical experience—by letting Brielle put up her own business.
“I wanted her to learn about money the same way I did as a kid,” Oreta shares. “While I was growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey in the United States, I had a little lemonade stand in our front yard, the same as other kids. But it’s different here.”
Because there was no venue for Brielle to put up her own mini-business, Maiki decided to create one—and the idea for the Kiddopreneur Bazaar was born.
“The Kiddo-preneur Bazaar is a marketplace where all the ‘sellers’ are kids, adequately supported by accompanying adults. By putting up their own businesses, the kids learn how to earn their own money. They also learn the importance of a hard day’s work,” Oreta says.
The first Kiddo-preneur bazaar was held in December 2011 at The Rockwell Club in Makati City. It was a perfect opportunity for the children to earn a little spending money for Christmas. It was followed by a second bazaar in April.
The booths offered products made by the “kiddopreneurs” themselves such as cupcakes and cookies, and specially designed notepads and cards. Oreta also tied up with financial institutions whose representatives gave lectures on how kids can save and even invest their money.
“We looked for partners who were interested in this novel idea. The Rockwell Club in Makati was as eager as we were to get the project going,” Oreta says. “They offered to tie up with us for the event. They helped in marketing the bazaar.” Her group also had a tie-up with the Philippine Stock Exchange and some banks to put up booths “so that the kiddopreneurs could learn about the initial concepts of saving and investing by opening a bank account.”
“Kiddopreneur is really more of a lifestyle business than a commercial undertaking,” Oreta says. “The core values we espouse are centered mostly on the education of children in the fields of entrepreneurship, banking, finance, marketing and philanthropy.”
She also wants to help raise the level of financial literacy in the Philippines and to help Filipinos become savvy savers and investors, “and what better way to do that than to start them young?”
At fi rst, Oreta and her partners were unsure whether others would buy into the idea as well. “But we’re glad we did because everything after that was, as the kids say, ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy!’” “The logistics proved to be challenging during the first time but rest assured we learned a lot and succeeding events will be a gazillion times better!”
“For now, we’ll be holding the Kiddopreneur Bazaar twice-yearly,” says Oreta. As for those who plan on building a similar venture she says: “Go for it! The more entrepreneurs we have in this country, the better!”—Monique Tenorio
Photo: Kai Huang
Hair and makeup: Tricia MIranda
This article was originally published in the May 2012 issue of Entrepreneur magazine.