Bots, biz and kids

Children entrepreneurs to show off products in market debut Saturday

Alex Jankacky is a bundle of bubbling kinetic energy as he enthusiastically talks about the tiny bot he’s rolling back and forth across a boardroom table that he’s going to sell at the first KidPreneurs Market Day on Nov. 24.

The 10-year-old from Anmore has developed a kit complete with parts, tools and instructions for kids to build the circuitry for a reindeer bot with an LED light for the nose. Jankacky is one of 18 kids who will be at the market promoting products like slimes, soaps, baked good and Harry Potter wands. It’s part of an after-school business class put on by the non-profit BizKids Practical Education Association in the Tri-Cities area.

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When the students in the 11-week course were asked to come up with a product to sell he thought of the little bot he and his fellow Odyssey of the Mind competitors created earlier this year only he kicked it up a notch.

“I decided to set it up as kits so it would be more educational instead of just selling the bot,” said Jankacky, who, of course, calls his venture Build-A-Bot. “The main part is the experience of building it.”

KidsBiz logoLeah Coss, the organization’s president said “the market day is the grand finale” with the kids getting experience doing customer service, marketing and merchandising.


“It’s a kids version of a farmers market,” said Coss.

This is the first group of after-school programs for the association, which was organized as a non-profit in April, with the next one starting in January. The courses are aimed at kids 7 to 9 years of age and 10 to 12.

“Kids at that age are just so excited to create,” said Coss. “They’re not scared to take risks … We’ve got them in the right mindset.”

The feedback they get, said Coss, is meant to help them improve, not be a hit to their self-esteem or for them to take it personally. The course’s final session, taught by Vancity Credit Union, will be on financial literacy.

“OK, you made money in another way than by the tooth fairy or birthday money. This is a way to learn the value of money and what to do with it,” said Coss.

The Kidpreneur Market Day will be held at Henderson Place Mall, 1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam on Saturday, Nov. 24, noon to 4 p.m. For more information go online to or email

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