Simplified: Acton Academy is gearing up for its third annual Children's Business Fair next week, and Sioux Falls Simplified got a chance to sit down with some of the kids (as young as 8) who are debuting business ideas and looking to make their first sales.

Why it matters

  • The goal of the business fair is to expose kids to an entrepreneurial mindset at an early age, said Aaron Johnson, who helped found Acton Academy in Sioux Falls a few years ago with a mission of letting children be in charge of their own learning.
  • About 50 students from ages 6 to 17 will participate in the fair, and there's also a competitive element where kids can win things like "best product" or "best presentation."
  • Kids had to apply to participate, and the application asked them to think about their business model, what their startup costs would be and what success looks like for them.
"I want to break even and have fun," 11-year-old Aspyn Johnson said.

Meet some of the entrepreneurs

Ailee Johnson, 13, is bringing her business – Eat Good Feel Good – to the fair for the third year in a row.

  • Ailee – daughter of Aaron and sister of Aspyn – sells protein treats and hats, inspired by a person on Instagram who made protein treats, she said.
  • She's put a lot of thought into both her recipes and her hat designs, including conducting a customer survey via Google Forms to ask potential buyers which design they'd be most likely to purchase.
  • In her third year of the business fair, Ailee has also set a specific goal to sell 75% of her product and make at least double the costs of production.
"I feel like I'm a shy person," Ailee said. "And (the business fair helps me grow out of that."

Addison Schelling, 8, received some help from Ailee in coming up with her business idea: Delicious Designs.

  • Schelling will sell homemade rubber band bracelets and snack mix at the business fair, a decision she reached after thinking about her passions and what she likes to do.
  • Her goal for the fair is to break even.
"I want to get enough money to pay my mom back," Schelling said.

Avary Scholes, 13, is helping some of the younger learners at Acton make a lemonade stand.

  • She's in a friendly competition with other students to see who can create the best lemonade recipe, and the winner gets to sell at the business fair.
  • The kids have tested different recipes and made changes based on feedback, Scholes said.
  • The business fair has been eye-opening to Scholes because she said she had no idea how many people wanted to run their own business.
"It takes some very courageous people to run a business and sell to customers who you don't know their reactions," Scholes said.

Aspyn Johnson, 11, will be selling homemade tattoos and doing face painting in her business, Paint and Pretties.

  • Aspyn said she likes to find designs and emojis to inspire designs for her business.
  • One challenge she's overcome in building her business is finding face paint designs that she feels she can do successfully and also that customers would pay for, she said.
  • Her favorite face painting design is a minion from the "Despicable Me" franchise.

How to support these businesses

The business fair runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 29 at Lake Lorraine, next to the weekly farmers market.