Big business for little traders

2016-07-19 06:00
 The Pocket Money Market aims to train young entrepreneurs in social and business skills.

The Pocket Money Market aims to train young entrepreneurs in social and business skills.

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Young entrepreneurs are lining their pockets.

Based in Fish Hoek, the Pocket Money Market is for children with big ideas and aims to grow entrepreneurs and teach them business skills.

The primary objective of the market is nurturing a spirit of entrepreneurship in young children with the long-term goal that more South Africans will be able to sustain themselves independently and possibly in a more flexible lifestyle. This lifestyle is conducive to less commuting and more active parenting which is often a challenge, says the organisation.

The second objective is to bring real and immediate income generation to families where the means for the children to join the Pocket Money Market are simply not available via an outreach programme.

The market was started in December 2014 by Linda Wilson, explains trader Damian Wolf.

Young entrepreneurs are taught the different aspects of a business as they trade at the market and run their own stall, explains Wolf.

“Every market is different, so there are a different amount of children at each one, but on average there are between 15 and 40 children on a trading day,” he says.

The market is open to every child wanting to join, up to the age of 16.

Children who do not have the means to join may apply for outreach assistance, says Wilson. They are assisted with the funds to purchase materials to stock their first market and guidance with regard to choosing their product range. They are then taught to make the products as well as costing, pricing, and accounting. They are even transported on market days. Once they are up and running they need to reinvest to purchase new stock, but the other assistance continues.

The organisation also runs workshops for the children, where they are given advice on their products and taught business and social skills, Wolf says.

“We also have a sheet we have to complete every time they trade, which shows the cost and profit at the end of the trading day,” he explains. “We learn about all aspects of a business – from costing and pricing, marketing, point of sale, product optimisation, capital investment, depreciation and so on.”

Most of the products are home-made but there are also traders who buy merchandise, Wolf says.

Children are encouraged to create “activity stalls” like guessing the number of sweets in a jar, temporary tattoos and nail decoration, and sell items such as plants, vegetables and herbs, and crafts. They are also required to make an advert for their stalls.

Each child who fulfils the requirement of a premarket advert, a sign and a completed accounting sheet, gets a certificate of participation. This means that even if their sales were not great, they still get recognition. At each event there is also an “entrepreneur of the day”.

“This is not based on profit, but a whole array of different factors including salesmanship, presentation, originality, sustainability, innovation and so forth,” says Wilson.

Each month there are awards in various categories and one “Entrepreneur of the Month”. This takes place at a fun function at Wilson’s cottage.

Sponsors are always needed as Wilson funds everything herself – she needs event sponsors, printing of certificates and prizes, as well as mentors and speakers for the workshops.

The number of events varies between one and five a month at different locations, but there is no attendance obligation – children just register for the events they wish to attend. Sales between markets are also facilitated via the website and Facebook page. Workshops and training are free and there is a nominal stall fee at markets to teach the concept of overheads.

The market runs twice a month as well as on public holidays. For more information, visit


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