After Mikhil Kiran, grade 5, attended a children’s business fair in Burlingame, he decided to bring a similar event to the South Bay. He checked with Kristin Giammona, Harker’s elementary division head, who directed him to the upper school’s DECA program. After weeks of planning, the Santa Clara Children’s Business Fair took place in Santa Clara’s Live Oak Park last weekend, with more than 40 children’s businesses displaying products and several hundred attendees shopping.
The event was co-sponsored by the Harker DECA club as the event was created to promote and inspire student entrepreneurship and encourage children from ages 5-12 to pursue business.
Kiran had help from his father as the venture required fundraising, working with city officials on permits and marketing efforts to make it a reality. Kiran made a video to help raise money and he pitched the sponsorship to multiple retailers and corporations, successfully raising most of the money required, his father, Kiran Ganesh, noted.
Prior to the fair, Mahi Kolla, grade 11, executive vice president of Harker’s DECA club, gave a pep talk about her entrepreneurship journey building the Minty Boutique to help inspire the budding entrepreneurs. Following the event, the kids noted that Kolla’s pep talk was very motivating.
The displays at the fair featured innovative products and ideas including hand-drawn comic books, slippers made to slide on carpet, cosmetic products, handmade arts and crafts, and recycled papier-mache decor pieces.
For three hours, the kids pitched their products and made sales while customers visited booths. Ishaan Chandra, grade 11, Harker DECA’s vice president of operations, and DECA advisor Juston Glass, helped at the event and acted as judges. Representatives from Sand Hill Angels Investment Group also participated as judges.
“The event was a great success with over several hundred attendees shopping and interacting with the kids,” said Ganesh.
At the end of the event, certificates were awarded to the top three businesses in two categories, “Business Potential” and “Salesmanship,” in each age group. Two Harker teams won prizes. Bee the Key members Mikhil Kiran, Krish Nachnani and Sahil Jain, all grade 5, won second place in Best Salesmanship age 10 and above, while Slip-n-Slide members, Trisha Shivakumar and Risa Chokhawala, both grade 4, took first place for Best Salesmanship ages 10 and under.
Kathy Watanabe, vice mayor of Santa Clara, was a special guest at the event and spoke about the need to encourage student entrepreneurship and the importance of students in business. Students left with the experience of an amazing first step into the business world. Check out this great video of the event!