July 3 – A great idea is worth pursuing, even if it comes from an abnormal place.
For Port Dover’s Hannah Fuchs, her journey to receiving a Student Start-Up Program grant began at the side of the road.
“I started picking flowers out of the garden, wildflowers on lawns and putting them in vases,” explained the 13-year-old. “But then they would dry up, so I pressed them in a book and thought ‘what am I going to do with this?’.”
That led the recent Lakewood Elementary graduate to make those flowers into bookmarks using a roll of vinyl that was available in her home.
“At first I gave them to my family and then somebody said ‘you should start a business’,” Fuchs explained.
And so she did, with the help of Norfolk County. On July 2, Fuchs was one of 11 Norfolk County entrepreneurs in grades 6-12 that received $200 grants to help grow their budding businesses. Funds were provided by local private-sector businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and other agencies. The grants are designed to not only help students turn a profit but fuel creativity and build business acumen.
“I’m going to keep a tally of how many bookmarks I have, how many I’ve sold and mark my tallies – how much money I’ve made, how much money I’ve spent and try to make a profit,” Fuchs said.
Students across the county have been taking part in the program for three years. The current crop has businesses that provide car detailing, bath products and even stress-relieving slime.
“That’s one of the interesting parts of the program, the out-of-the-box thinking that they come up with, some things that I would’ve never thought of,” said Norfolk County supervisor of economic development Chris Garwood. “That just goes to show the future is bright for the county because our young people are very creative.”
Hannah isn’t the only member of the Fuchs family taking part either. Younger sister Sarah (11) is making a go of her very own jewelry business.
“I’ve given my aunt and grandma bracelets and I’ve made myself necklaces and bracelets with beads,” Sarah offered. “I like doing it, it’s a great way to fill up your time. When Hannah did a business I thought I might as well do a business too.”
The Fuchs sisters actually partnered on a roadside lemonade stand last summer but have decided to go down different paths this year.
“It’s going to be fun because I like running businesses like this,” said Sarah.
The Fuchs duo is exactly the type of go-getters the SSUP is designed for.
“We really, really love this program,” said Garwood. “We can see the benefit of the program to the community and the more young people we can get involved in this program, the more successful it is. We look forward to doing this next year and to encouraging more youths to take part.”
Further details are posted online at norfolkbusiness.ca/ssup-norfolk/.