Local shop to mentor kids in "Palmetto Artisans" entrepreneur program

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A program allowing young people to sell hand woven roses on the streets of Charleston, is now partnering the children with a local business for mentoring. Nine to 16 year olds are allowed to sell roses to locals and tourists as part of the city's "Palmetto Artisans" program.

Twelve-year-old Kasey Robinson and 16-year-old Javon Washington make and sell the roses.

"Just making a little bit of money. You can save it for something good or buy something nice for your momma," Robinson said.

"The Recreation Department oversees the program. We have a supervisor that is out on the street when the kids are out there in case they need anything. We provide the supplies that they need," program supervisor Pam Zanowski said.

Now for the first time a local business is partnering with "Palmetto Artisans" and providing a business training camp for the kids, in hopes of developing the young people for future success.

"You always need new leaders. you always need new business people. If you don't nurture that now we're going to suffer for it later in the future," Sweet Cece's manager Ken Calabro said.

The owners of Sweet Cece's say they'll provide mentoring and instruction for the children right at the shop. Topics during business camp could include what it takes to start a business, interview skills, sales and marketing.

Javon hopes to own his own business one day and hopes to learn a lot from the local business owners.

"It will show us that if we put in the work that we can make something of ourselves, that we can do something when we grow up," he said.

The children are allowed to sell roses through the program on weekends and days that they are off from school. They say they can make up to $200 during a busy weekend downtown. The children have business permits through the city.

The first business camp at Sweet Cece's is set for early May.

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