In Asbury Park, New Jersey, business owners who are still in middles school are planning their futures.
“I didn’t know about making my own business. I only knew about working for a business,” said 12 year old Jaden Lucien, who wants to create gaming software as a career. He had previously aspired to work for Nintendo or Microsoft. Now he wants to be their competitor.
Jaden is part of an afterschool program which teaches middle school students how to start their own businesses. Asbury Park Junior Entrepreneur Training, aka JET, places two dozen kids from the area in a 12 week program, where they form teams of seven and work with adult mentors who guide them in the process of starting and running their own businesses.
The teams decode what their products will be, how to price materials and come up with marketing, business names, and slogans. They sell their products at the small business expo Made in Monmouth, at Monmouth University. Adult businesses participate in the expo.
But before they can exhibit, kids have to show their business plans to judges, who decide if the teams get loans of up to $200 to buy their materials to start with.