Young entrepreneurs learn real-world lessons from Surrey company

Cameron Adamson has big plans for Sidekick BooKmarkz, a product that folds onto a book page and allows a reader to focus on printed words.

Cameron Adamson with the Sidekick BooKmarkz he created as part of lessons taught in class through PowerPlay Strategies’ Young Entrepreneur program.

Cameron Adamson with the Sidekick BooKmarkz he created as part of lessons taught in class through PowerPlay Strategies’ Young Entrepreneur program.

Cameron Adamson has big plans for Sidekick BooKmarkz, a product that folds onto a book page and allows a reader to focus on printed words.

It was a winning entry at a recent showcase event at Coyote Creek Elementary, where students learned to earn and manage money in real-world lessons from PowerPlay Strategies, a Surrey-based company.

Cameron, a Grade 7 student, said he likes being an entrepreneur.

“It makes me smile when I say the word – I don’t know why, it just does,” he told the Now.

Kids at the Fleetwood-area school were taught about market research, product development, sales and more, all in an effort to get them thinking about small-business ventures.

PowerPlay’s Young Entrepreneur program is taught in classrooms across the province, said company boss Bill Roche.

“I live in Surrey and developed the program locally, and the very first school was White Rock Elementary in 1999,” he said.

“We currently work with around 50 classrooms in Surrey each year, and we’re actively developing a plan to expand that significantly.”

Surrey Board of Trade has gotten involved as a sponsor, as part of its new Youth Entrepreneurship and Advocacy Action Plan, or YEAAP.

One student at Coyote Creek came up with a design for an “emoji” night-light.

“I’m always impressed to see the ingenuity of the students at the showcase events,” said Anita Huberman, the board of trade’s CEO. “It makes me excited for our city’s future.”

The organization’s sponsorship allows students to meet and learn from local business people.

“They have a youth committee that I sit on, and we look at ways we can develop entrepreneurship in the city,” Roche explained. “A key component of that is starting them young and helping kids recognize, from a very early age, that entrepreneurship is a viable career option. We give them that experience so they start looking at it as they get into high school and older.”

Cameron recently demonstrated his special bookmark at a meeting of Surrey council. A few days later, he returned to city hall to meet with a business mentor, Councillor Bruce Hayne.

Roche is impressed with Cameron and his product, which the student wants to take to the next level with the help of his mom Jenni, Hayne, Roche and others.

“I want to start my business and do it professionally,” Cameron said, “because (the product) helps with a disability called dyslexia. I want to sell it to those people and other people, like seniors and kids and adults who have problems with reading or trouble focusing, mental focus.”

Cameron has considered mass-producing Sidekick BooKmarkz, perhaps with the aid of a mold.

His business plan describes how the product is made, materials and tools needed and costs involved, and it even includes a charitable component for the BC SPCA.

A loan from his mom paid for the startup cost of $18.91 to make 22 of the bookmarks, for materials such as Bristol board, tape, stickers and lamination.

“I like earning money from my product,” Cameron said, “and I also like helping people with it. That makes me happy to do that.”



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