2018 Youth Business Fair


MAY, 2018

Brehm Preparatory School hosted our first ever Youth Business Fair on Saturday, May 5th. Brehm students developed a brand, created a product or service, built a marketing strategy, and then opened for customers at our one-day marketplace.

This event was sponsored by Acton Academy of Acton Children’s Business Fair, Brehm Foundation, SIU Credit Union, Pepsi Mid-America, and the generous support of our donors and volunteers. We all believe that principled entrepreneurs are heroes and role models for the next generation.

Dylan’s Mothers Day Gifts

Photograph by Charity Finley

Jamie Niman
Brehm Transition Coordinator

Businesses included:

Peter’s Priceless Perspectives
John and Jessica’s Matzo Brei
Cole and Andrew’s Bahama Pop Shop
Sebastien’s Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Benjamin’s Buttons
Joe’s Joe
Mason’s Marvelous Monsters
Ariel’s Sweet Shop
Rocks Design
Rainbow Bakery
Mosaic Hearts Shop
Good Works
Stress B Gone
Fab Faces
Art of the Heart
Your Junk is Art
Dylan’s Mothers Day Gifts

It was great.  It was nice to see the creative minds of our kiddos.  When I walked around each table they wanted to explain their business and show the hard work they did.  My favorite part was seeing them smile when someone bought something.” – Christina Blessing

We had 18 booths of food, beverage, art, services, custom orders, designs, and more.  Students varied in levels of support and independence with their planned projects. Weekly recs were offered as an option for additional time to plan and prepare for the big market day.  The original intent of the Youth Business Fair aimed for individual students or student partnerships to run a micro-business for profit for one afternoon, but we got creative at Brehm! A few classes collaborated to create a store together and voted to donate profits to charity.  A couple of clubs ran businesses as a tool for fundraising. The rest ran their stores as young entrepreneurs!

Melissa Lewis from Walker’s Bluff and Stephanie Brown from the Autism Society of Southern Illinois

This hands-on learning opportunity provided a range of skills students opted-in to practice: customer service, persuasion (pitching their product), exchanging money, investing their allowance or advocating for micro-loans for approval, planning out and organizing the expenses and time to create a product, researching product, and understanding different perspectives (target audience).  

Customers remarked how happy and proud many of our business owners appeared – they created a product and watched people enjoy it.  There were a variety of presentation skills displayed such as detailed laminated menus, business uniforms, and themed colors through the product and booth.  A couple of businesses did not reach their intended product number by the fair date, but used creative problem solving to take custom orders for the future!

We would like to thank our community judges, Stephanie Brown from the Autism Society of Southern Illinois and Melissa Lewis from Walker’s Bluff for judging the Youth Business Fair. We had three categories for awards which included: “Most Business Potential,” “Most Creative Idea,” and “Most Impressive Presentation.”

Congratulations to our Youth Business Fair winners:

“Joe’s Joe” for Most Business Potential
“The Rainbow Bakery” (benefiting Brehm’s new GSA) for Most Impressive Presentation
“Your Junk is Art” for Most Creative Idea

We would like to thank all students who participated in either having a business or by coming to the fair. A big thank you to all the customers who came out to support our students. Our young entrepreneurs couldn’t have this experience without you!