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‘Kidpreneurs’ featured at new event

An event believed to be the first of its kind in the region will highlight “kidpreneurs” next month.

The Downtown Suffolk Expo will feature three expos in one, with the centerpiece being young entrepreneurs, ages 7 to 17, displaying and selling their products and services.

Downtown businessman Richard Chaing, an entrepreneur himself as the president of Suffolk Executive Offices, said he came up with the idea to do something because of his daughter, who started her own business at age 6.

It started when she came to her father and asked for money and he jokingly replied, “Get a job.” She took the charge seriously and started a business making soy candles.

But after a couple of years, she had saturated the market of family and friends and started branching out to craft shows and the like. But she was intimidated because there were often no other children at these shows, Chaing said.

“I just think a lot of kids today are connected too much with their electronics, and they’re not interacting with other kids,” Chaing said.

He talked about doing an expo for young entrepreneurs for years before his wife finally pushed him to do it this year.

“That’s how it got started,” Chaing said. “I want to help the downtown Suffolk area.”

The event, set for 9 a.m. to noon June 22 at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, aims to feature 20 young entrepreneurs. They will be judged by adult business owners on criteria including most original business idea, highest potential, creativity and best presentation, with monetary awards given out of the proceeds of the event, Chaing said.

“Whatever we make, it all goes back to them,” Chaing said.

Young entrepreneurs who have already signed up for the event will sell items like lemonade and purses made out of up-cycled Amazon boxes, Chaing said.

In combination with the young entrepreneurs, a business-to-consumer expo for small businesses owned by adults will also be on site to promote themselves as well as support the young entrepreneurs.

Also on site will be the Suffolk Humane Society showing off adoptable animals and giving information on adoption and other resources.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” Chaing said of the trio of expos supporting each other. “The whole idea snowballed to this huge event.”

The fee to register is $20 for young entrepreneurs and $200 for the adult small businesses. Admission to the public is free.

For more information or to register, visit www.suffolkyoungentrepreneur.com. Chaing can be reached at 925-4744 or richard@suffolkexecutiveoffices.com. Registration is required by June 10 or until spots are full.