Only a couple of weeks into the new lockdown and home learning and home schooling have fast become ‘dirty words’ again as the frustrations and challenges of navigating a traditional curriculum in non-traditional circumstances breed stress and unrest – but not for the students being taught by an entrepreneurial mum from Gosport, Hampshire who is helping to channel children’s interests and talent through teaching them the processes of turning their passion into pounds, through her innovative new platform BizKidz.co.uk
Developed for children to dive into during lockdown, Cheryl Dodd, 42, who has many years experience in business and over 10 years experience of being an entrepreneur and also owns Starz Ballet and Dynamix Gymnastix Ltd – businesses that were turning over a quarter of a million pre lockdown, built the BizKidz programme on the back of the success of having supported her 10 year old daughter in setting up a Slime business earlier in the year, after she was starting to feel jaded by the school system due to her not being a high achieving academic.
Cheryl Dodd saw her daughter go from feeling demotivated to empowered and is now on a mission to share her skills more widely reaching out to other young people who may be feeling the same.
She explained: “My daughter Issy is a really bright kid, but has always been ‘working towards’ milestones at school which I think was starting to become demotivating, despite her efforts. She was driving me mad back when we first locked down, dodging her homework and I was stressing about it (secretly) so in desperation when she asked for help to start her own biz (a slime shop)! I said yes!
“We worked together and it was like magic. Issy had a goal. A goal and vision that she had set for herself, all of a sudden she was reading (to research, online) writing (into her website) calculating her costs/profit! The learning suddenly took on meaning. Issy was learning loads and she took over £1k in 90 days!!! … at 10 years old!”
“I saw how she grew in confidence as she succeeded at something and built her self-belief. The lessons are endless and ongoing. While building her resilience and confidence Issy has flourished.”
Issy manages her budgets and her own bank a/c. She is responsible and accountable to her new brand and customers. Creating processes, writing policy, buying her ingredients, Issy has learnt all sorts of tech, graphic designing her own logo and creating her own website.
Since launching, BizKidz and Teenpreneur Academies have now launched a huge variety of businesses from entrepreneurs as young as 7, including Crazy Daisy Lip Glosses, Morgan’s Hand Crafted Cards, Fizz Fantastic Bath Bombs, 3D Printings … and loads more! Some sold their products online as early as week 7 of the BizKidz Academy programme and one BizKid Morgan made £400 before the end of the course.
Parents have the support of Cheryl’s step-by-step lessons on how to start a business, so they are not expected to teach their kids. With a blended learning approach, most learning styles are covered including short videos, written lessons, workbooks and live interactive calls and the children are encouraged to work together on tasks, to build that collaboration element too. An app and website provide access to weekly short video lessons and written workbooks which is further supported by a kids community space for help and support from each other, and Biz Mentor Cheryl. Alongside this also sits a parent’s community in Facebook for extra communication support and updates on their children’s progress.
Whilst the course was originally developed for children who were not enjoying the academic side of learning, Cheryl has also seen huge benefits of the programme for more traditionally academic kids too. She has seen them create more rounded skills around decision making, managing money, overcoming fear and taking risks – things they don’t always have chance to explore through other routes at this age.
Cheryl said: “It has been an absolute joy to see them all flourish and I’m so excited for this round of young entrepreneurs we are going to be supporting. I feel passionately that this kind of education is invaluable and I am at odds with the fact that the education system takes kids on a journey through school to college to university to employment. I want kids to know that starting a business is achievable for them and could also be a viable path for their future. Ownership of their future direction and goals creates a huge impact on their lives. To empower kids to learn their way creates results and in turn builds confidence, resilience and so many more life skills. BizKidz engages kids as they lead their own learning”.
Cheryl also sees the benefits to parents, in giving them something to connect with their children around. She said: “If you are feeling disconnected with your kids learning, having something new to learn together can be really exciting, and I have really enjoyed lovely time spent with my daughter getting excited about her plans, and supporting her on her new journey, cheering her on – I’ve loved bonding with her over business!”
Cheryl is no stranger to business and for the first 12 years of her career, her roles included managing multi-million pound businesses, with roles as; Store Manager at M&S and Services & Development Manager at Debenhams HO and across all stores. Since having children, Cheryl has multiple businesses of her own, all parent and child related. Starz Ballet® LLP; Starz Franchising Ltd; Dynamix Gymnastix Ltd; Cheryl Dodd Limited and now BizKidz® & Teenpreneur® Academies.
For more information or to book on the next course see www.bizkidz.co.uk
PHOTO CREDIT – Paul Jacobs