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Opportunity created for young Innisfail entrepreneurs

Town and d Innisfail and District Chamber of Commerce team up at Market On Main to create new program
MVP Young entrepreneur sisters
Lilly Watkinson, 14, left, and her 12-year-old sister Grace show off products from their home-based business Grace's Jewellery, at the Market On Main on June 22. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL - For the second week in a row there were special participants at Market on Main.

Lilly Watkinson, 14 and her 12-year-old younger sister Grace, joined 15 other small businesspeople on June 22 at the weekly event to proudly show off their homemade items from their home-based business called Grace’s Jewellery.

“All of our stuff is handmade and we make our money ourselves to buy the supplies that we use. We spend a lot of the time making the stuff during the day, and then we sell it during this time,” said Lilly, adding she and Grace have made it to the first two Market On Main events so far this season, and have received encouraging feedback. “It has been how we have sold most of our inventory so far.”

Lilly said being a full-time working entrepreneur in the future is already a goal she has committed to in her young life. Lilly noted she and Grace started their own business last December selling hot chocolate bombs, hollow balls of chocolate filled with hot cocoa powder and mini marshmallows that are usually placed into a mug of hot milk.

“We made a lot of money off of that and we made it all ourselves,” said Lilly.

For this summer, the entrepreneurial spirit shown by the Watkinson sisters was a perfect fit for the new initiative created by the Town of Innisfail and Innisfail and District Chamber of Commerce, who partnered this year to create the first full year of Market On Main, to help the young gain valuable hands-on business experience.

Chamber manager Carla Gabert said the town and chamber created a young entrepreneur area at the east end of the Main Street market, located in the closed off historical block of downtown between 50th and 51st avenues.

She said the initiative was created for youth under the age of 21 who have been working on a home-based business idea. It’s an initiative with an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to put their business idea out to the public and learn from the experience, said Gabert.

She said the town and the chamber sponsor the area to create three spots for young entrepreneurs, with a $5 cost per week for each. Gabert said young entrepreneurs book their spot in advance on a week-to-week basis.

She said sponsors provide a table for each aspiring young businessperson, who are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. Local businesses sponsor a tent for them.

“It’s a great program. They are getting great feedback from market attendees. They are enjoying themselves and seeing how a business works,” said Gabert. “Hopefully they will be some of our future businesses.”

Any young person considering a career in business and interested in the new young entrepreneur program at Market On Main can call the chamber at 403-227-1177 or email ichamber@telus.net