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Blog: How My 8 Year Old Negotiated with 6 Young Enterprise Teenagers and Both Sides Won

"Something tells me that these girls are going to do just fine.


Young Enterprise teams at JA-YE European fink, Wembley, July 2013

We stepped out of the department store in Milton Keynes and into a Young Enterprise fair.
We’d hardly begun to look around when six teenage girls beamed smiles at us all and looking at Martha began with, “Do you like Slime?!”

This stand sold jars of make your own kits of lip balm, fairy cakes and slime.
They immediately engaged my kids and asked questions and talked to them on their level. It was now four o’clock and they had the energy and enthusiasm as if they’d just started. They showed the products and let the kids touch them and see them and asked how they’d use them. They then asked how many they’d like to buy.

Standard stuff eh? But is it. These girls who were from Northampton School for Girls had something I rarely experience in shops or at fairs. They had confidence, worked as a unit, were loving what they did and wait for it, yes, they were selling!

As a controlling and getting tired father, I offered an objection for Martha, the only one of my three who had remembered to bring her purse, that we would have a walk around and come back. “Okay, one of them said, undeterred, then she added, we’ll be packing up in half an hour or so, then they’ll announce the winners of today!”

My lot wanted to attend that ceremony, probably her enthusiastic tone and the word winners. I tried to explain it wasn’t for us, and now she gave a smile way beyond her years of a future mother empathising with me over the conundrum she’d unintentionally caused. So now I want my daughter to buy their stuff too, don’t I!

We move on and encounter more charming young people of every race, nationality and hairstyle over the next thirty minutes all pitching their wares from car games to recycled coke can speakers.

Each group seems to have an uncanny ability to know which of my kids to focus on. Archie soon wants to buy rebranded converse boots and a beanie hat and Florence wants to buy a car travel game.

They start folding tables and Martha grabs my hand and starts to run back to the slime and lip balm girls. I guess I’m going to be there for some kind of support, Martha doesn’t yet know she is unlikely ever to need it.

“Can I have the lip balm making kit for £3 please?” says Martha.

“How about two for £7.” They respond, in unison, ah ha it’s rehearsed I think.

Martha gets one kit as she doesn’t have seven pounds, that’s £2 off, and all are happy.

I am left asking myself a question. Will leading and ambitious retailers get these girls to join them? Unlikely. But if they did, the amount they’d sell!

When you see young people performing like this, it makes you realise not only how wonderful it is to be young with all of life still to unfold in front of you. It also makes me realise that some kids want to have more control over their destiny and whether they become professionals, entrepreneurs or give their skills to the public sector or business, something tells me that these girls are going to do just fine.

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