Fellowship Update: Learning opportunities abound at the annual Raleigh Children’s Business Fair

November 15, 2019

In May 2019, the John William Pope Foundation welcomed Branson Inscore as our 2019-2020 John Blundell Fellow.  A recent college graduate and native of Iredell County, Inscore will be with us for one year working as a program assistant, exploring options for future employment or graduate study, and completing a special project. The John Blundell Fellowship was established in 2015 for recent college graduates that have an interest in advancing freedom and pursuing a career in public policy, academia, journalism, philanthropy, or public service. You can read more about the role here.

This fall, Inscore directed our annual Raleigh Children’s Business Fair. Below, you’ll read more about the fair and his experience managing a community event. 


Fall 2019 Fellowship Update

Participating children could work individually or in small groups to operate their business. Businesses were tasked with everything from choosing their products and business name to decorating and displaying their merchandise.

I have completed just over half of my John Blundell Fellowship at the Pope Foundation and have been pursuing projects in journalism and marketing analytics research and serving as an assistant program officer for the Foundation. Additionally, a large project of mine this summer and fall was directing the Pope Foundation’s fourth annual Raleigh Children’s Business Fair.

By hosting the Raleigh Children’s Business Fair, our goal is to promote and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in our community. The Pope Foundation began hosting this event in 2016 in partnership with Acton Academy, a business-minded school based in Austin, Texas. The school debuted the Children’s Business Fair project in 2007 and extended the opportunity to host to others a few years ago. To date, over 450 fairs have been held in 11 countries with over 25,000 participating young entrepreneurs.

Held at the Commons at North Hills in Raleigh on October 19, this year’s fair included 53 entrepreneurs between the ages of 6-14. With the help of our judges, sponsors, and volunteers, we were able to host hundreds of shoppers and give participating children opportunities to experiment and learn in a safe but independent business environment.

Our ambitious entrepreneurs included bakers, painters, authors, textile manufacturers, and craftsmen, among many others. Through submitting their applications, creating their businesses and products, preparing their booths, and marketing their products to customers at the fair, these entrepreneurs learned about the value of hard work and responsibility and developed skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Each business had to decide how much to charge for products and was responsible for deciding what forms of payment they would accept, bringing change if necessary.

Guest judges for this year’s fair included Larry Robbins, Managing Partner at Wyrick Robbins, LLP; Brad Young, Executive Director of the NC Institute of Political Leadership; Dr. Terry Stoops, Vice President of Research at the John Locke Foundation; and Mark Wheeless, Impeesa District Commissioner for the Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America.

This year’s event sponsors included Kane Realty, Wyrick Robbins, BB&T Charitable Foundation, and Acton Academy. Additionally, staff and volunteers of the Occoneechee Council generously donated their time and service during the fair, as they have for many years.

Reflecting on the event, I am inspired by the passion and motivation of our participants. It was incredible to see children in action as they shared their stories and products with their customers. And the enthusiasm of all of our volunteers pushed me to be my best as director. 

Our founder John William Pope once said, “If you love what you are doing, are willing to take risks to accomplish your goals, have the support of your family, and good people working with you, then you can be a successful entrepreneur.” As the Raleigh Children’s Business Fair proves every year, Mr. Pope was right. 

–Branson Inscore, 2019-2020 John Blundell Fellow