Acton Children's Business Fair of Washington, DC

Saturday, May 9, 2020 in Cleveland Park


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC?
The Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC inspires children to discover their inner entrepreneur. The largest entrepreneurship event for children in North America, this one-day market gives children the opportunity to showcase their very own businesses.

When and where will it be held?
The fourth annual Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC will be held Saturday, May 9, 2020 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm outside of 3400 Connecticut Ave NW in Cleveland Park. Businesses can start setting up at 9:00 am.

What is the rain date?
The rain date is Saturday, May 16.

What is the Launch Party?
The Launch Party is a fun kick-off event for the Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC. We invite young entrepreneurs and their families to join us at the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library on in April 2020 (date/time TBD) to learn all about the business fair and discover the “3 Magic Seeds” for starting a business. A panel of young entrepreneurs and past business fair participants will share their experiences and give tips.

Does my child have to attend the Launch Party to be eligible to apply for the business fair?

Who can participate?
Children who are ages 6 to 14 on the date of the business fair can participate.

How does it work?
Young entrepreneurs first make an important decision: they hire themselves! They then bring their parents or guardians to the Launch Party. The Launch Party is an opportunity to learn more about the business fair, ask questions, and meet other young entrepreneurs.

Following the Launch Party, young entrepreneurs submit an application and then begin to build a product or service. They plan their business at every level: product/service, marketing, accounting, cost of goods, pricing, and more.

Accepted applicants will sell their product or service to real customers from a booth at the fair.

How many businesses will you accept?
We will accept up to 88 businesses.

Is there a fee to participate?
We will collect a $10 participation fee (in cash) from all accepted businesses. The fee will be collected at the start of the business fair, when the young entrepreneurs check in.

Where should I begin? 
Start with our resources page.

How do I apply? Can I apply as part of a group?
Application must be submitted online. Please submit one application for each business. Children working as a group should submit one application that includes each child’s information. No more than 3 participants per business. Applications will be accepted for the 2020 business fair in March 30-April 12, 2020.

What is on the application?
The application asks children to think through some simple but important elements of their business:

  • What product or service do you plan to sell?

  • What price will you charge for each product/service? How much will each product/service cost you?

  • How will you pay for your startup costs? If someone is helping you with your startup costs, how will you pay that person back?

  • How will you advertise/market your business before the fair?

  • At the end of the fair, how will you determine if your business was a success?

How will the fair be set up?
The fair will be a tented outdoor event with booths. Each business will be given a booth with an 8-foot table (to share with one other business), full-cover tenting, and 1-2 chairs. Table cloths will not be provided. We are not able to accommodate businesses requiring electricity. Here is a site plan.

Will electricity be available?
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide electricity to the booths.

Will there be prizes?
Yes. We believe that starting and running your own business is its own reward, but in order to recognize those entrepreneurs who go above and beyond, we have awards in specific categories: most original business idea (celebrating creativity or uniqueness), business with the best marketing/presentation or sales pitch (celebrating beautiful displays or packaging and/or compelling sales pitches), and highest business potential (celebrating a product/service that has high potential outside the business fair).

All entries will be automatically entered in the business competition. The competition will be judged according to the following four age groups: 6-7, 8-10, 11-12, and 13-14. If children of different age groups submit a business together, they will be judged in the age group of the oldest participant.

Judges will ask the entrepreneurs questions about the fundamentals of their business, such as how they came up with product prices and who their target market is. Judges will also evaluate how much of the business reflects the child's own work (versus the parents’). Cash prizes will be presented at the end of the fair.

What are the rules? 
This event is designed to give children the experience of creating a business and selling a product or service. If a parent is found creating a business for a child or selling or promoting a child’s product or service, the child’s business will be disqualified from consideration for an award.

Parents of younger children may sit in the booth, but the children should be responsible for set up, customer interaction, and sales.

Parents may help their child fill out the application, but we expect the children to do as much as possible by themselves.

What advice do you have for parents?
Please remember to keep this about the children. Let them imagine, create, and problem solve. Your job is to maintain enthusiasm and provide encouragement.

Keep it simple. This is a children’s fair. Let the business plan, booth, and sales reflect your child at her/his best, not your best.

Let your child do the work. Let her make mistakes and learn from them. Let him problem solve and come up with his own solutions. Let her be messy! Let your child be the Chair of the Board, CEO, and owner of his/her ideas.

If your child gets stuck, return to the key question for her entrepreneurial journey: “What can I make with my own hands that others might enjoy?”

How can I contact the Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC?
Contact us here. Please note that, due to the high volume of emails we receive, we may not be able to respond quickly. We encourage you to review our FAQs and website before contacting us.

How did the Acton Children’s Business Fair get started?
Jeff and Laura Sandefer and a few other families wanted to spark a sense of wonder and entrepreneurship in their children so they created the first Acton Children’s Business Fair in Austin, Texas, in 2007. That year, there were seven entrepreneurs and around 25 attendees. Now, there are over 115 entrepreneurs and 1,500 attendees at the Acton Children's Business Fair in Austin.