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Business owners bring Young Entrepreneur Market to Bloomington-Normal

Cooper Jacobs tries to attract motorist's to his family's lemonade stand Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Robert F. Bukaty
The Young Entrepreneur Market will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 16, at Parke Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington.

Many are familiar with the taste of ice cold lemonade from a stand during the summer heat, but those young entrepreneurs may not realize they have a business on their hands.

That's an example of the entrepreneurial spirit two Bloomington-Normal business owners want to inspire.

Vivian Kong Doctora is the owner of Bao Destination, runs a cooking class and is a Realtor. Amy Gammelgard works for a marketing agency and co-owns an event consulting business called CO+LAB. The two have come together to host Bloomington-Normal's first Young Entrepreneur Market.

The market will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 16, at Parke Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington. Entrepreneurs ages 6 through 19 are welcome to get a booth and demonstrate their entrepreneurship skills. Prizes for best booths will be awarded in four age groups. The booth registration fee is $50-$100. Admission costs $5.

Doctora was inspired to co-host the event after watching her daughter start up her own small business.

“Seeing my daughter tag along with me at the (Bloomington) farmers’ market, selling her own handmade jewelry, it just really motivated and inspired me to say, ‘Hey, I bet you there’s some children out there who also have an entrepreneur spirit, but they just don’t have a platform for them to really showcase their product,’” Doctora said.

Doctora said entrepreneurship can teach youth various skills that are often not taught in schools, such as money management, where to purchase products and materials, how to price products, packaging, marketing as well as building strong communication skills with customers and other entrepreneurs.

The event will also have food trucks and activities available for the entire family to enjoy.

Gammelgard believes that encouraging kids to start early and be creative with their ideas has several benefits.

“They create jobs and they also bring character to our town and it’s just something we definitely want to encourage,” Gammelgard said.

The young entrepreneurs are responsible for their own setup, customer interactions, sales and cleanup.

More details and registration information can be found on the Young Entrepreneur Market website.

Megan Spoerlein is a reporting intern at WGLT. She started in 2023. Megan is also studying journalism at Illinois State University.
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