This is a paid post from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Simplified: It started when Zooks Coffee Bar Owner Linda Kokenge saw some lemonade stands around Tea not getting much traffic. Now, her Kid Biz program is encouraging these young entrepreneurs by giving kids a place where customers come to them.

Why it matters

  • Kids who participate in Kid Biz can set up a table outside Zooks to sell whatever it is they're selling. Products range from lemonade to cookies to homemade body scrubs, bracelets and more.
  • What's been most impressive, though, is seeing how hard kids are working to build their small businesses. Kokenge shared a story about a boy who picked up dog poop around town to raise money for a better computer so he could create 3-D printed objects to sell.
  • Kokenge has also seen support from other local businesses in Tea. Reliabank sponsored t-shirts for the kids, and Ace Hardware is donating tents to help offer some relief from the hot sun during the events.
"It just makes you feel really good about where you're living and the people you're living here with," Kokenge said. "People who never had an opportunity to live in a small community are missing out."

Tell me more about Kid Biz events

There are about eight tables, and each business typically has at least two kids behind it – whether they're friends, siblings, etc. Kids are all age 14 or younger.

The events run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. outside Zooks at 815 Gateway Lane in Tea.

Kid Biz is also providing opportunities for kids to interact with other small business owners in the community.

  • Kokenge gave the example of a young girl who is selling homemade body scrubs. A local boutique owner who stopped by the Kid Biz event connected with the girl and gave her an opportunity to sell in the boutique.
"These kids are going to be the small business owners of tomorrow, and it is so important to keep encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit," said Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. "Kid Biz is a great example of how communities can support young people."

How can I support these kids?

Show up and buy something from their businesses.

Upcoming dates include July 15, August 12 and September 9.