SJP II students pitching business ideas as part of 5th annual “Marketplace”

For the fifth year in a row, students at St. John Paul II Catholic School get an in-depth look into what running a business is like. As part of the “Marketplace Project”, kids get their own budget, go shopping for the materials they need to build their product, and present their business idea to bankers for loan approval, with all of the proceeds going to charity.

Assistant Principal Alicia Burdess says the first Marketplace style event was the brainchild of her sister, a teacher at St. Mary’s School in Sexsmith. She says it took on a new form after help from Community Futures added a real business aspect to the event.

“There is a team of bankers, business owners, community members, mortgage brokers, and all other kinds of professionals. The students are all put into a zoom call to present their proposal. Sometimes proposals are approved and sometimes they are approved with recommended changes,” she says.

Burdess says that students come up with all kinds of neat ideas, including offering pre-orders for their products before the event to meet their goals. The school has booths set up exactly like the Grande Prairie Farmers market.

She adds that this year they’re going to have the inner school event, which is just for our students and staff. Following that, our outside event will be online and virtual but people will be able to buy however many items they want as long as there is enough inventory. Once that happens, the best-performing groups get to go to the Farmers Market and sell their products on December 18th, just before Christmas.

Her school has been participating in the marketplace for 5 years now, starting at the beginning of November and right up until December 18th. Every week is mapped out and the students know what they will be doing.

“We love giving these kids the opportunity to be creative, professional, and awesome. The ideas they come up with just blow me away,” Burdess says.

They raised 18,000 dollars from the marketplace event in sales 2 years ago, which was their best year to date. The online charity market begins December 17th and will run over the weekend. Visit the JPII Facebook page for details

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