Small entrepreneurs show off their creativity in big way

By Kevin G. McGuire and Sarah Thompson
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writers

Nigel and Nadia Lewis might only be 11 and 7 years old, but they have already created their own clothing line and are looking to expand their business in the near future.

Called Loose Seeds, the company the two Baltimore children created sells T-shirts, hats, mugs and other products with quotations and illustrations on them.

The brother-and-sister team also runs a website, blog, and YouTube channel.

“We take motivational quotes and put them into funny, cool illustrations that we put on clothing,” Nigel said.  “We also have a YouTube channel where we can help you start your own business.”

Eleven-year-old Nigel and 7-year-old Nadia  showed off their entrepreneurial spirit at the Acton Children’s Business Fair held at the Baltimore Museum of Industry Oct. 15.

The Acton Children’s Business Fair is held all over the world and features youngsters who are eager to showcase their business ideas to the world.

The festival is organized by the Acton Academy and the Acton School of Business. It is the largest entrepreneurship fair for children.

Children ages 6 to 14 can participate. Each child sets up their business at a booth at the museum and is responsible for the setup, idea, and speaking to potential buyers.

The exhibits are judged by local entrepreneurs and are awarded prizes for  business potential, creativity and impressive presentation. The winners can take home $50 for their idea.

“My children participated in the D.C. festival a couple of months ago,” said Ja’Near Garrus, a Baltimore resident who helped bring the festival to Baltimore.“I thought: why can’t we do it here?  We have so many great minds here.”

Forty-two children participated in the Baltimore fair this year and hundreds of people walked through the exhibits throughout the day.

One of the aspiring minds was Kalimah McWeaver, 13, of Washington.

McWeaver created Dinka Stylez, an African-based clothing line that teaches the rich culture of Africa through handmade clothing.

“I wasn’t able to find research materials and actual products that could help me learn about my African heritage,” McWeaver said. “The resources that I was able to find were quite boring.”

McWeaver created her business to help teach others about her culture in a fun and stimulating way.

Eight-year-old Taliyah McColl from Baltimore created her own gift-wrapping business, Crown Wrapping, to support her beauty pageant career and help families in need.

“I love wrapping gifts and I love Christmas time, so I put them together and I made up Crown Wrapping,” McColl said.  “Fifty percent of the profits go towards a family I adopted for the holidays, and the other 50 percent go towards my pageant career.”

The Acton Children Business Fair is an opportunity for children to reach out and learn early business ideas and provides some friendly competition.

Sponsors included BGE, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Garrus Creative, and Acton Academy and Acton School of Business.

The Baltimore Museum of Industry showcases the various industries founded in Baltimore, including some brands still popular today like Black and Decker. The museum sits on the site of a former oyster packing plant on Key Highway and hosts a variety of steam engines, tools and machinery used to create American infrastructure.

“We have a lot of field trips here,” said Auni Gelles, the community programs manager at the museum. “We are trying to focus on making connections on the past, present and future.”

The festival exhibits showed a wide variety of different ideas, ranging from edible science to healthy hot chocolate.

Seven-year-old James Hoff created his turmeric-infused “FIT” hot chocolate with his mother to make his favorite drink healthier. The hot chocolate helps boost antioxidants, and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Fourteen-year-old Kendra Franklin from Baltimore owns Peachy Afro Slime, which sells slime stress relief balls made with shaving cream, hot water and borax.

“We always had a lot of fun making slime,” Franklin said. “We wanted to translate that into a business.”

Jamar Ward of Baltimore created The Sweet Stop, a homemade sweet store, to donate to Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

“My uncle and father were both chefs,” Ward said.  “My uncle got MS and I just wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

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