Over the Summer of 2019, the Education team at CEED traveled all around the province of Nova Scotia delivering Juniorpreneur camps, where youth aged 8-14 spent a week working towards running their own business for half a day, earning revenue, calculating costs and enjoying the rewards of their hard work by retaining their profits.
We met our young Juniorpreneurs in the Kings County, Yarmouth, Pictou County, Truro and the HRM areas. Learning about these different communities across NS from an experiential rather than “word of mouth” point of view definitely added to our knowledge of what is customary in certain parts and what is needed for progression. Our travels had an immense mutual benefit as youth in their respective areas became educators of context, access and opportunity in their hometowns.
Throughout the summer, we learned how our processes would need to be adapted to fit the environment we were in. On Wednesdays, we would bring the campers out into the community spending most of our day outside meeting local entrepreneurs, conducting customer discovery surveys and going on a field trip to historical sites with a story linked to entrepreneurship.
In Kentville it was the King’s County museum where we learned about the first female elected mayor in the Maritimes, Gladys Porters, amongst many other innovative entrepreneurs such as the inventor of kerosene Abraham Gesnor.
In Yarmouth we visited with entrepreneurs in budding technological areas, interior design and the tourism industry. We also paid homage to past brave firefighters in NS when we visited the historical firefighter’s museum.
In New Glasgow we learned about the prominent Carmichael family and practiced former trades that used to support the economy of the town.
In Truro we visited the Millbrook Cultural Heritage Centre to gain an understanding of the cultural and creative survival skills of the Mi’kmaq people.
And in Halifax we visited a host of entrepreneurs who were able to provide stories about working in the family business, resilience, opening up a storefront and pivoting to meet customer needs.
Needless to say – the team was kept busy, and we were always on the move. With the diversity in each context, we couldn’t replicate our process be exact. In every iteration, we needed to be agile. Thankfully, we had the right team to do it
Our decision-making limits were clear, we had the autonomy to completely own and conduct our tasks as we saw fit, we offered honest feedback on practices/ideas and didn’t second guess each other’s decisions to adapt in the moment.
The way we operated enabled the campers to grow out of their shell as the week went on and encouraged them to explore outside their comfort zone. We witnessed a variety of bright ideas, a high level of determination and surprise in the faces of the youth when they realized what they were capable of. Whether it was working with other people, learning to be confident speaking to customers or honing in on the details; there were moments this summer when Juniorpreneurs really, truly acknowledged their ability to be entrepreneurs.
At the end of every day, campers received a badge to represent what they learned that day.
One phrase was reiterated every camp: “that anyone can be an entrepreneur regardless of what they look like, where they come from or how old they are.”
Every time, this was spoken with the utmost sincerity. Our mission here at CEED is to empower individuals and communities to achieve their full potential through embodying our core values:
Innovation. Collaboration. Community. Impact.
We now have families, communities and businesses invested in elevating Juniorpreneur camps because they see the impact. We have young campers already planning for next year and older campers continually pushing us to develop similar programming to keep them involved as they grow. No matter the context, we our leveraging our network of community partners to drive engagement and seeing former Juniorpreneurs become confident to lead their own businesses without our oversight.
To many, achieving success can turn into a numbers game of meeting designated targets to represent impact. But here at CEED, success is defined as seeing the transformation of uncertain, aspiring entrepreneurs become confident, joyous leaders in their own right who love what they do and continue collaborating with the community to build the accessibility to entrepreneurship.
As the honourable saying goes, “leaders don’t create followers… they create more leaders.”
We believe that is exactly what we are doing here at CEED and that is our marker of success.