Children are Setting Aside Their Devices to Start Up Their Own Businesses: the not-for-profit making a difference - Juice 107.3

Children are Setting Aside Their Devices to Start Up Their Own Businesses: the not-for-profit making a difference

'Kids in Business' teaches children to be okay with failure and how to develop resilience and care for those in need.

By Juice 107.3 Network Monday 11 Mar 2024ParentingReading Time: 6 minutes

A not-for-profit organisation getting kids off their devices to starting their own business is going ‘mobile’ this year.

Kids in Business is a joint venture with Atheera Education and was created to address a gap in the education market.

Monica Catalinac, founding partner of Kids in Business, saw that children were leaving school without good life skills.

“The traditional schooling system actually teaches children to be employees – they go, they do their job, they get paid, they go home.”

“One of the biggest things was seeing families with kids in Year 10 who weren’t even able to fill out a tax declaration form, they don’t know how to write up a resume, how to approach people; they’ve got no communication skills,” she told Hope 103.2.

“The traditional schooling system actually teaches children to be employees – they go, they do their job, they get paid, they go home.”

Kylie Wilkinson Member for East Hills, The Hon Jihad Dib, Wally Mehanna CEO of the Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce with Monica Catalinac founding partner of Kids in Business and Bilal El Hayek Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown

Kylie Wilkinson Member for East Hills, The Hon Jihad Dib, Wally Mehanna CEO of the Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce with Monica Catalinac founding partner of Kids in Business and Bilal El Hayek Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown. All pictured with Kids in Business participants. Photos supplied.

Kids in Business aims to teach children the skills needed to be self-reliant, financially literate and successful in business.

It does this through a variety of courses and business opportunities, such as monthly markets, business courses and a career expo.

“They’re doing all that in real life, it’s not play, it’s their money that they earn, so the kids are loving that.”

All these services are available to children aged five and above, however, Ms Catalinac has seen the most benefits for children aged eight and above.

Monthly markets, held on the first Saturday of every month, are opportunities for children to put their learning into practice.

“The market is the most exciting for them because they get to use the skills in a real-life setting; you’re not gonna get any more real life than the market and they’re dealing with the money… they’re dealing with customer service (and) they’re packing the items.

“They’re doing all that in real life, it’s not play, it’s their money that they earn, so the kids are loving that.”

Some children can make over a thousand dollars a day at a market, Ms Catalinac said.

Markets to go ‘mobile’

These markets were previously held in parks around the Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Area, however, this year it will become what Ms Catalinac calls a ‘mobile market’ that will be held in a new area every month.

The decision to set up shop in different areas was to expose the children to people from all walks of life, she said.

“We want the children to actually learn how to deal with people from different demographics or backgrounds.

“Each area tends to have its own group of people, which is nice, but the real world, your real customers, come from all walks of life.”

Should children work?

The idea of children working might be a contentious subject, with some seeing it as robbing them of their childhood.

If someone had told Ms Catalinac about Kids in Business 20 or 30 years ago, she also would’ve shared that view, however, she has since changed her mind.

“The kids don’t have a childhood these days; unless they are outside in the backyard, in the front yard, in nature exploring, (or) riding their bikes every day, they’re on devices.

“That sense of achievement is part of childhood.”

“We’re eliminating that – kids are severely addicted to devices now, they have already been robbed of their childhood.”

Ms Catalinac believes there’s nothing that says that children can’t contribute or earn a wage.

“When they’re doing it, they’re having fun, they’re being creative; they get to be involved, they get to grow some independence.

“That sense of achievement is part of childhood – when they’re having fun and they’re earning something or getting rewarded for their hard work, it’s still a childhood.”

Getting kids off devices

Mahmoud, 14, was “severely” addicted to games – he would play video games in the morning non-stop until it was time to go to school.

When he came home from school, he would play all night and wouldn’t eat, so his parents told him to start his own business.

“He came to his first market last weekend, but it’s been four weeks now and he’s probably…gamed once or twice, but he’s heavily focused (on his business).”

“We said, ‘let’s work on that passion of yours and how we can turn that into a business.’”

His business, Super Scents, sells perfume in small bottles, providing a cheaper alternative to the larger bottles of perfume, however, that wasn’t the first idea for his business.

“His idea was to do with the online world and to maybe record himself playing a game, but it would actually only feed his addiction, so his parents said he needed to pick something else.

“His second addiction was perfume, so we said, ‘let’s work on that passion of yours and how we can turn that into a business’ and then he came up with that on his own.”

Valuable life lessons

Not all businesses started by the children will succeed, but Ms Catalinac is not fazed by this.

“We actually teach the kids that if you fail as a child, it’s the best lesson you can get because when you fail as a child, you’re not losing much.

“If you were to do that as an adult and had invested $50,000 or $100,000 or a million dollars into opening up a business and then learnt that lesson, it’s very, very hard to come back from.”

Kids in Business also teaches children about the importance of social responsibility.

After each market, she sends a document to all the parents with a list of questions to ask their child.

The questions ask how the business can be improved, why certain things happened, why an item did not sell or how they can stand out from the stall next to them that was selling the same product.

Kids in Business also teaches children about the importance of social responsibility.

“We encourage all of our kids at the markets, whatever money you’ve earned, no matter how much you have, a small portion of that money has to go to somebody in need,” Ms Catalinac said.

“(These kids) will be our future leaders, so we want to create a compassionate group of leaders.”

Children who have finished the program are still working on their businesses, with most of them marketing their businesses on social media.

“(These kids) will be our future leaders, so we want to create a compassionate group of leaders.”

Umara, 13, joined the program to sell cookies she had made and learnt how to brand her business, Barakah Blends, through creating her logo and starting up her own Instagram account.

“She actually approached shops and got one of the grocery stores in her area – he said he wants to wholesale them; they love them, they tried them and now she’s putting together the wholesale price list,” Ms Catalinac said.

Children are at a good place in their lives to learn how to start a business, she said.

“The parents are investing and it’s not generally as much as what the adults will invest, so there’s less to lose as a child.”


Featured image: Header image by Canva Pro. All other images supplied.