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January 30, 2014

TREP$ program teaches children joys of business


One of the business plans that the mentors heard was sixth grader Caitlin Baker’s plan to make and sell aprons for dolls. Baker brought some of her finished aprons to the meetings and both mentors and students were impressed by her craftsmanship.

“Everybody liked it,” said Baker, on the reception to her plan.

Other businesses were the result of a collaboration between pairs of kids. One such pair was made up of sixth graders Eric Kukenberger and Peter Weil, who are collaborating to make and sell heart shaped maple candies.

McCoy gave the pair credit for the idea to offer free samples, and predicted that they would sell out, suggesting that they prepare themselves

“I think it’ll do pretty well,” said Kukenberger, when asked his thoughts on how his product would do at the marketplace.

Some participants discovered TREP$ through their siblings participation. Such was the case with sixth grader Emily Odell, who has chosen to name her sweet bread and muffin baking business “Batter Up.”

“My brother did it last year,” said Odell. “I thought it would be fun so I’m trying it out.”

The mentors all said that they enjoyed advising the young entrepreneurs.

“I love it, I had a great time,” said McCoy, who first became aware of the program after her daughter participated in it.

“It’s fun,” said Locke, who was asked to participate by a colleague. “I like working with young kids.”

Participants in the program must play a $5 fee to help cover the cost of the work books they receive. In order to sell in the marketplace, participants must also pay another $5 in order to cover “rent.” Final business plans for the students are due Jan. 31.

In Cooperstown, the program is offered to students from sixth to eighth grade. Next year, however, it will be expanded to include fifth graders as well.

The TREP$ program will also be coming to more communities this year. The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce has purchased the program for the schools in Milford, Laurens and Oneonta. If successful, the chamber has expressed an interest in taking TREP$ county wide.

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