Kids compete for business grants in Chesapeake

Business owners ranging in age from 5 to 17 convened at the Chesapeake Conference Center Saturday to vie for the grants

NORFOLK, Va. — Business owners spent time after school and got help shopping from their parents to prepare to set up their tables Saturday morning at the Chesapeake Conference Center for the 2022 Kidpreneur Expo.

The Bennett Center put on its second annual expo to highlight and support youth businesses in Hampton Roads.

According to a press release about the event, over 50 youth vendors ranging in age from 5 to 17 exhibited their products and services at the expo.

Each entrepreneur got a chance to present to judges who at the end determined who would get each of five $500 youth business grants to improve their business.

12-year-old Kasey Weigl, who goes to a Virginia Beach Public School, won $500 for “Best Concept.”

Her business, Slimeitizer, produces hand sanitizing slime that cleans the hands of the person playing with it, she said.

“It all started during COVID [in] 2020 when I was bored doing nothing,” Weigl said.

She said she spent weeks planning and preparing for the event, and while she got a little shopping help from adults, she made all the slime on her own.

Weigl said she pulled from her experience from past events to make sure she was ready for this one.

When asked what she will do with the money she won, Weigl said:

“I plan to invest it in my business — get some ingredients — some more glue, so I am able to make more slime. And get more ingredients to make cooler slimes and better slimes in the future.”

Chesapeake Public Schools soon to be eleventh grader Ke’nyzjah Ferebee was also a vendor at the expo.

Ferebee’s business is called Kayke — It’s a play on the work cake and the first letter of her name, she said.

Ferebee makes specialty cakes and cupcakes for all kinds of events including birthdays and weddings.

She said she started baking from scratch during the pandemic, and she started her business in November of 2020.

She built a regular clientele over the years of people who buy from her repeatedly while referring their friends to Ferebee as well.

She said she used her Facebook page, Kaykebakery, to advertise and grow her business. She also has an Instagram page: @kaykebykenyzjah.

Although Ferebee did not end up winning any money Saturday, she made her own money.

The soon to be Junior raked in $338.75 and sold out at the expo. She landed well over $100 profit when considering she spent around $60 on materials and ingredients and $150 to be a vendor.

Ferebee has big hopes for the future.

“I want to be an influencer — basically I want to be famous,” she said.

She’s been making efforts to get herself out in the public eye by appearing in various local publications and promoting her business.

And while there may be a store front in the future of young entrepreneurs, that’s not her focus.

She said, “Influencing is my main goal.”

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