40+ Student Businesses to Sell Handmade Bath Products, Pet Toys and More

(FLINT, Mich., April 27, 2018) – On Saturday, May 5, some of Flint’s youngest entrepreneurs will have the chance to sell their services and products as part of the first-ever YQ Inc. Business Fair.

The event follows several weeks of entrepreneurship lessons provided during YouthQuest’s afterschool program in Flint and Genesee County. As part of the curriculum, students learned about concepts such as marketing and profit-sharing, developed business plans and competed in ‘Shark Tank’-style pitch competitions.

“We’re all about hands-on, interactive learning at YouthQuest,” said Cheryl Adkins, program director of YouthQuest, which is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. “What better way to teach students about entrepreneurship than by challenging them to create their own businesses?”

With support from United Way of Genesee County Community Impact, students who advanced from the competitions have enlisted their peers to assist with production and will display the resulting inventory in the market’s outdoor pavilion. There, the young vendors in grades K through 12 will sell everything from cat toys and action figures to bath bombs and candles.

In addition to the short-term pop-up shops, YQ Inc. will also include imagination stations featuring ideas that are still in development. According to Adkins, students manning the stations will share their innovative solutions relating to washing machines, social media and coffee.

“This project has inspired our students to think big,” Adkins said. “It has stretched their imaginations and built their confidence. And they’re excited to share what they’ve learned with the community.”

Among the students participating in YQ Inc. is A'llysa Wallace, a fifth grader whose jewelry business specializes in beaded necklaces and bracelets. She and her business partners work in pairs to create each piece – one works with the beads and the other works with the thread.

“It has taught me a lot about teamwork,” Wallace said. “I have a good group of partners – we support each other. I think that’s an important part of running a business.”

The YQ Inc. Business Fair will be held May 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit yquest.org or call (810) 600-1422.

Photo caption: YouthQuest students share the business plan for Wired for Action, a business that creates and sells customized action figures using pipe cleaners. 

About YouthQuest

YouthQuest is a high-quality, research-based afterschool program offering educational and enrichment activities that engage young minds. Available at 16 sites in the city of Flint and Genesee County, YouthQuest serves 2,000 students in grades K-12 each year. The program is administered by the Genesee Area Focus Fund, a supporting organization of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. For more information, visit www.yquest.org.