MONTVILLE, NJ - Children are the future, and the fifth graders of Woodmont Elementary demonstrated that they can be the next generation of entrepreneurs when they held their third annual TREP$ Marketplace on May 10.

Held within Woodmont's gymnasium, over 100 Montville residents, friends and family arrived and shopped around 30 different vendors. This year, over 20 students participated in the TREP$ program creating almost two dozen vendors. Prior to this day, the fifth graders attended workshops for two months.

This event is part of a program by TREP$ ED, LLC, a non-profit organization from Fairfield that provides schools, parent associations, and local organizations with TREP$™, a comprehensive project-based entrepreneurship curriculum designed for students in the fourth through eighth grades. At Woodmont, TREP$ is specifically open to the fifth grade students, who get to learn the business basics, make homemade products, design print ads, develop business plans and sales techniques, and finally at the big event, sell their goods to customers.

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“We all start with an idea and what’s needed in the world,” said Dan Seewald, Montville resident and the school’s TREP$ facilitator. “Then we do some light market research, find a product, and put a business plan together. We gave the kids feedback, helped build a prototype of their business, taught advertisement and how to sell their products.”

Judging by the mini cash registers each kid brought that were full by the end of the event, the Woodmont fifth graders definitely learned their lessons and prospered from it.

“It’s really fun to make our own business and then sell our own products,” said fifth grader Raihanna Shamsudin. “TREPS makes us learn to run a business, learn a price and work with friends as a team.”

Shamsudin developed a coaster business, known as “Coaster City,” with her fifth-grade classmates, Julia Aydemir and Lena Takhim. Some fifth graders went solo in their TREP$ business, such as Emmanuel Abraham. For his business, Abraham offered to give piano and taekwondo lessons following the event.

“Piano and taekwondo are my passions,” said Abraham, who offered lessons at home or at parks. “I learn how to get people to buy at my business, be assertive and smile. I’m a little nervous to do this, but I’ve practiced a lot. TREPS is a great experience. This could be the beginning of a big thing.”

Fifth grader Avery Patriarca was another lone entrepreneur in her business of playful slime, known as “Simply Slime.”

“TREPS is fun and cool,” said Patriarca. “The program teaches how to sell and market your products, and how to make them pop from the competition.”

Some young entrepreneurs were able to sell out their product inventory, ranging from scented candles, to bookmarks and magnets, plants, greeting cards and even bath salts. And the parents, customers and school staff were proud to see their kids succeed in the TREP$ program.

“This year’s TREPS was an incredible success,” said Seewald. “The kids learn a lot as they go along. It’s just inspiring to see the next generation of entrepreneurs. They will take the next step in the future.”

To learn more about TREP$ and the effects of its programs, visit the TREP$ ED, LLC website at https://www.trepsed.com/.

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