Inspiring childhood entrepreneurship, Kids Launch and DSU to host first ‘kid-vendors-only’ event

Child entrepreneurs work on their projects during the Kids Launch summer camp at the Dixie State University Atwood Innovation Plaza, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Tiffany Thornock, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Kids Launch St. George and the Dixie State University Business Resource Center are hosting the first kid-vendors-only market on July 20 from 9-11 a.m.

The Kids Launch Summer Entrepreneurship Market will be at DSU’s Atwood Innovation Plaza. Children will learn the art of sale, make money and have fun, co-founder Tiffany Thornock said.

Thornock told St. George News she has seen the impact similar markets were having across the nation.

“I had seen it done across the country, and I thought, ‘Why isn’t this happening in St. George or Utah where entrepreneurship is such an important part of who we are?’”

Childhood entrepreneurship helps with self-confidence and teaching children to work hard, she said. Not every child is going to excel in outlets provided by schools, like football or orchestra, but each child has a talent. She said she believes these talents can be used to create something new.

Child entrepreneurs participate in a tour of Dixie State University’s Atwood Innovation Plaza and three-dimensional printers in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Tiffany Thornock, St. George News

The mission of Kids Launch, she said, is to reach out to children from all walks of life and express to them that they can use their talents to lift themselves out of whatever situation they might find themselves in.

Vendors must be under 18, and the children must sell the goods themselves.

Kids Launch St. George promotes childhood entrepreneurship and offers resources and support to child entrepreneurs. The organization was founded in January and is hosted out of the Innovation Plaza at DSU.

Thornock said the idea to create an organization for childhood entrepreneurs stemmed from her own childhood and more recently her children. She “was blessed” with entrepreneurial opportunities as a child when she owned and operated a soda stand.

She said St. George is the perfect place for entrepreneurship, but issues with housing, affordability and jobs have made it difficult for young adults to continue to live in or move to the area.

I saw entrepreneurship as a way to help the next generation not have to deal with those issues so much.”

That’s when she began to reach out for sponsors and partners. The DSU Business Resource Center had already begun a pilot program similar to her idea, and Thornock said she and Executive Director Don Willie decided to team up.

Willie said the Business Resource Center worked with Thornock to obtain funding to jump-start Kids Launch. The center is opening a slew of programs at Innovation Plaza in late July, and is looking forward to offering a place for childhood entrepreneurs to grow and work.

“It is just such a cool program,” he said. “It’s really inspiring to see all of these kids work to create something and then run with it.”  

Interested vendors can reserve their booth for $20. Booths come with one T-shirt, and more shirts can be purchased at the event. Over 30 booths have been reserved, and about 50 child vendors are set to attend the market.

“That’s a good-sized festival,” she said. “Obviously people want this.”

Thornock said the vendors are selling everything from food to jewelry.

Some of the kids are selling their products for particular causes, while some are selling for the economic incentive and opportunity. Overall, Kids Launch just wants people to come out and support the local kids.

Kids Launch has prohibited the sale of multilevel marketing products, hazardous items and items that are not intended for individual sale. Children are also prohibited from selling their parents’ products.

Kids Launch just finished its first summer camp in early June and is planning a holiday market.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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