SPARTA, NJ - Kids will be drawn to the locker magnets, glitter stress balls and photo booth pictures. Soy Candles, jewelry and bath bombs are just a few of the items that will appeal to adults. Those coming with an appetite will not be disappointed either – as brownie bites, homemade guacamole and fudge, are just a few of the products that can be enjoyed on the premises. All of these items will be available for purchase to all cash-carrying members of the public attending the TREP$ Marketplace at Sparta Middle School on Tuesday, February 28 from 7 until 8:30 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

The TREP$ Marketplace is a unique flea-market style event in that all of the vendors are children middle school students. Over the past six weeks, 120 children from Sparta Middle School school have been participating in the award-winning TREP$ after-school program where they have learned the basics of entrepreneurship. On Tuesday night, February 28 they will put all that they have learned to the test as they launch their own businesses for the night.

Sponsored by The Sparta Middle School PTO, the initiative is designed to serve as an inspiration for young people to think creatively and to put their ideas into action by creating a new business.  "Educating our young people about entrepreneurship and reinforcing the value that entrepreneurs and innovators bring to our economy is critical to America’s long-term prosperity – more so now than ever before," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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 According to Kauffman Foundation research, 41 percent of children ages nine -12 say they would like to start their own business. "Young people have a natural desire for the independence and control that comes with owning a business and being their own boss," Schramm said. 

TREP$ co-founder, Hayley Romano, added, "TREP$ takes that desire and turns it into a concrete learning experience from which the kids benefit in so many ways."

Pamela deWaal, Romano’s partner, agreed. "Entrepreneurship education through TREP$ is an empowering self-esteem builder that gives kids a greater sense of control over their lives and futures," deWaal said.  “With the support of the community, the young participants of TREP$ will learn the value of creativity, motivation, and hard work.”

Come check out The TREP$ Marketplace in the Sparta Middle School gymnasium and see what amazing business our young entrepreneurs have created.