The Sun West School Division in partnership with the PowerPlay Youth Entrepreneurs, held three special presentations in the West Central region from February 13 to 15.
The first was in Kindersley, then they moved to Rosetown and then Kenaston the following days. Executive Director of PowerPlay Youth Entrepreneurs Bill Roche, talks about how the special program got started.
“I created PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs about 20 years ago. It’s a school-based program where the kids learn about business and they create their own business ventures and showcase them at their schools. And then the event (in Kindersley, Rosetown and Kenaston) was designed to provide an extra learning opportunity for those students that gets them to think about innovation and giving back to the community in a bit more depth.”
Roche then went into detail of presentations held in West Central.
“We've been working with Sun West School Division for about a year now, and hundreds of their students now have participated in our school-based program,” Roche said. “Every kid creates a business venture, and they all have to develop products and marketing materials. They do a big sale at the end; create business plans, and donate a portion of the profits to charity and they have been taking it very seriously,” Roche added.
The presentations have been going all over the province, and Roche has noticed some differences.
“What we've been noticing in Saskatchewan is, a member my team (Owen Davenport) has been zooming in to some of the Saskatchewan classrooms and kind of supporting them, brainstorming and even kind of giving the kids tips on their prototypes. And he came to me in the in the first few months, and said I don't know what's going on, but the products in Saskatchewan are better than anywhere that we've seen in the country.”
Roche gave a reasoning why things are like this in Saskatchewan.
“It was mind-blowing just to see the quality of the products, so we asked the teachers why was that? And they talked about the fact that a lot of the families have woodworking shops and things like that. So, the kids have these skill sets and access to tools and they were just making really sophisticated products, it was really cool.”
Roche then talked about all the different children who took part in the presentations.
“We worked with the school division over the past few months and we thought okay, we're seeing a really high engagement level of kids that do really well in school, who love the program but, also kids that aren't traditionally engaged in traditional classrooms, they were really excited to get on board and creating their own pathways to success.”
“The kids came together, and they were able to explore how they could innovate an idea. They thought about, what's the problem in our communities? And what are some solutions that we can come up with? And then they pitched it to the judges; it was really quite cool just to see their creativity and action.”
Roche then gave a quick background of what he was doing before he started doing the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs.
“I became fascinated with the idea of, why is it that we wait until we've become adults to discover what we're passionate about, what we’re filled with, and so on. And what can we do that we really love and have a career around that.”
“I decided to create this program and just provide an opportunity for kids to really explore their passions and their talents and their interest. And it just kind of grew from there. My first couple of groups that I worked with were incredibly engaged, and it kind of hooked me in.”
Roche was an engineer for years before deciding to take his PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs on the road.
“I just ended up quitting full time and turning it into a business and the past five years we actually launched a Canadian charity. So, we now rolled the program out across the country through our charity.”
Roche was very happy with how the presentations were, and will continue his program for years to come.