Power Play Young Entrepreneurs is a highly engaging program aimed at kids in grade 4 up to grade 8. Students have fun exploring their passions and talents as they design a business plan and put it to the test. They make real products, earn real money, and in this case, they donated a part of the profits back to the West Central Crisis Centre.
Vickie Newmeyer is the CEO of Community Futures Meridian in Kindersley. She helped out with Power Play at the Elizabeth Middle School. "It's just phenomenal," says Newmeyer. "The results of this project have been just wonderful for training and teaching entrepreneurship to youth."
"The creativity, the innovation, the unique ideas. They used things that they really had a passion for, and that sort of thing is critical to entrepreneurship. They did what they loved."
Power Play is a national organization founded in BC in 1999. They provide schools and teachers with resource materials and videos to provide an authentic learning experience. The students develop their own business plan, conduct market research, and launch a product at a Young Entrepreneur Fair.
As a person involved with startups for a long time Newmeyer was impressed. "The whole program is just designed brilliantly to create a spirit of community and when you give back everybody wins." She added, "for years, Community Futures Meridian has been doing initiatives like this. These children were so gracious. They shared any profits and gave money to the West Central Crisis Centre."
Schools in the Sunwest School Division that participated were Harris-Tessier, Rosetown, D'Arcy, Cherry Grove Colony, Smiley Colony, Elrose, Eatonia, and Elizabeth Middle School (EMS). Newmeyer mentioned the effort put in by EMS teachers Kristen Elder and Teagan Reyes. "The teachers were absolutely wonderful. They had the spirit of entrepreneurship themselves. They bought in and didn’t interfere. They allowed the creativity, innovation and strategies to happen."
"I believe that entrepreneurship is a skillset that should be taught and encouraged with all youth. Entrepreneurs traditionally are solving problems or creating opportunities."
Elder and Reyes mentioned in an online video that kids were working on these projects at home, because they were excited about it. Newmeyer also thought that there may be life lessons learned through Power Play. "They understand risk and reward, making a business plan, and cash flow. Each and every one of those skills go into their personal lives, whether they ever open a shop or not."
Vickie Newmeyer's final statement came after we asked her about how youth entrepreneurship could help the 2 main industries in our area: Agriculture & Oil and Gas. "The future is exciting, and I think that we can support a really healthy entrepreneurial spirit for many years to come."