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Post-pandemic program for Omaha kids: becoming an entrepreneur

OMAHA, Nebraska – The age of Porter Hinrichs, in years, is 12. When he was seven years old, he first began preparing treats for his family’s dog. They are now available at Heartland Paws, a pet retailer located in Omaha, Nebraska.

“In my opinion, becoming an entrepreneur is a really great thing to do. “I would absolutely love to do this for the rest of my life,” Hinrichs said while wearing an orange apron that stated “Porter’s Pup Treats.”

At the Omaha Children’s Business Fair, which took place on Sunday, he sold his snacks.

His mother had enough faith in her son to entrust him with operating the booth all by himself.

“We’ve learned lessons about how to persist with something when it’s hard and also how to overcome barriers,” said Melissa Hinrichs, who is Porter’s mom. “We’ve learned lessons about how to stick with something when it’s hard.”

At the Omaha Palazzo, there were approximately one hundred fifty young business owners selling their wares. From homemade lemonade to toys produced on a 3D printer. The experience provided invaluable insight into the world of business.

They are ruminating on the question, “How can I manufacture the product while yet completing it in a timely manner?” What is the best way to organize my time? How should I set the pricing for my product? How do I advertise it? Or, what is the best way to spread the word that folks should stop by my booth at the fair? Rachel Benson, co-founder of Acton Academy Omaha, which was one of the groups that put on the event, stated that the attendees were gaining knowledge on all of those topics. Prairie STEM, a non-profit organization focused on technology, also hosted it.

In a time when the business world is undergoing shifts as a result of the epidemic, youngsters in Omaha are investigating the possibility of starting their own businesses.

According to Kauffman’s annual Early-Stage Entrepreneurship Report, the economic stress brought on by the shutdowns and job losses altered the perception of entrepreneurship from one of opportunity to one of necessity.

According to the data, the percentage of new businesses that were started because of personal choice had a precipitous drop from the rates recorded before the pandemic in 2019 to 2020. That’s the case all around the country as well as in Nebraska. The percentage of people across the country who started new businesses out of choice rather than necessity increased in 2021.

Percent of new entrepreneurs driven by opportunity (Data from Kauffman Indicators of...
Percent of new entrepreneurs driven by opportunity (Data from Kauffman Indicators of Early-Stage Entrepreneurship 2021 National Report)(TheSarpyCounty)

In Nebraska, that number still declined slightly. Although, young entrepreneurs like Hinrichs are certainly doing it on their own.

“I thought this is a good way to make some money and get dogs happy and healthy and kind of do all that jazz,” said Hinrichs

As kids sold their items Sunday afternoon, small business owners volunteered to give feedback on their work.

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